About 30 residents took to the streets in eastern Beijing Tuesday to demand higher compensation for the compulsory purchase of their homes by China's leading state broadcaster.
The angry residents from about 30 households near the futuristic new building of China Central Television (CCTV) gathered at around 8:35 am, putting up posters demanding more compensation and protesting against "forced relocation."
Police officers were seen at the site talking with protestors, who kept complaining to the bystanders.
The residents, living in a 15-story building adjacent to the charred CCTV structure, said they were angered by a CCTV statement published in Beijing Daily on August 6 threatening "forced relocation".
The statement, by CCTV's office in charge of the new site construction, listed 35 households that, it said, had "not left any contact information or got in touch with CCTV for relocation arrangements or compensation." It threatened forced relocation if these families took no action in 30 days.
"They have all our contact numbers, but never contacted us," said one of the protestors on condition of anonymity. "Now they are making false accusations and trying to blame us for having disrupted the relocation."
A CCTV official in charge of the new site construction asked the community management office to send five representatives of the protestors to discuss the issue. But talks still did not begin as of 2 pm, because the residents insisted that journalists should be present while CCTV objected.
The 11-year-old building, which used to house at least 100 households, was set to be demolished to make way for public green space of the CCTV new headquarters complex, but some residents felt the compensation, just over 10,000 yuan per square meter, was too low and refused to move out.
The market price for real estate in the area, at the heart of Beijing's central business district, was at least twice the compensation offer, they said.
The fire broke out on February 9 at the complex housing CCTV facilities as well as the yet-to-be-opened Mandarin Oriental Hotel near the new CCTV headquarters building, dubbed by many the "big pants."
The fire was caused by a powerful fireworks show put on by CCTV to celebrate the Lantern Festival, an important date marking the end of the traditional Lunar New Year holiday.
The burnt building and CCTV's main tower were both designed by Rem Koolhaas's Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture.