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Lawyers play a key role in relocation efforts

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | | Updated: 2021-09-23 17:36
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Having lawyers explain legal provisions to residents has become a useful tool in increasing the willingness of the residents to be relocated to areas with better living conditions, officials of Shanghai's Huangpu district said on Wednesday.

On Aug 12, the last batch of a 224-household community who had lived in a cramped century-old neighborhood in Huangpu was relocated to their new homes.

Each household in this neighborhood lived in a tiny space that on average spanned just 12.6 square meters.

The entire process, starting from the government agencies initiating discussions of the relocation plan with the residents to the move into the new homes took 142 days, a new record in the district, according to Ding Qining, Party secretary of Huangpu's subdistrict of the Bund.

The previous record of 172 days was set in 2020.

"With sufficient preparation work, especially in the field of legal explanations, in advance, a rising number of the residents have changed their mentality from 'I was required to move elsewhere' to 'I want to move into a new home'," said Wang Jianzhong, director of the Huangpu District Bureau of Justice.

A major concern of the relocation plan was the distribution of the apartments and monetary compensation, said Ding. To address this matter, lawyers with excellent communication skills have since three years ago been visiting neighborhoods regularly to introduce relocation laws and regulations to the residents. They focused primarily on families in which members had misconceptions of the distribution, those with members suffering from major diseases and those earning low incomes.

The legal professionals listened to each family's circumstances and offered their suggestions on interest allocation from policy and legal perspectives, Ding said.

"In light of legal issues, such as the rights of custody and succession, the lawyers shared relevant knowledge to the residents through lectures and individual consultations," he added.

Lawyers also provided legal advice for drafting relocation and compensation agreements, and were also responsible for reviewing the legal documents throughout the relocation process to ensure fairness and legal consistency, said Wang.

Yang Dongsheng, vice governor of Huangpu, said that the number of households involved in urban renewal this year is expected to reach 20,000, a stark contrast compared to around 5,000 per year over the past two years.

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