China / Society

SPC reveals official misconduct in demolitions

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-29 21:58

BEIJING - China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) has revealed administrative malpractice in house demolition cases handled by courts this year, including forced bulldozing and arbitrary compensation.

"Some administrative organs prevented homeowners from choosing compensation options, some didn't stick to official procedures and resorted to forced demolitions," said SPC spokesman Sun Jungong on Friday, referring to 10 demolition cases publicized by the SPC as examples.

In urban China, land is state-owned, which gives the state final say in how to use it.

According to Sun, other malpractice emerging from these cases included authorities deliberately underestimating houses' values so as to pay less in compensation and authorities being uncooperative in presenting evidences.

Most of the 10 cases dated back to 2011 and 2012, when the State Council released a regulation on house expropriation and compensation for demolition on state-owned land. Rulings in the 10 cases were all made this year, and administrative decisions in six of them were deemed illegal or revoked.

"Meanwhile, some were ruled valid and upheld," Sun added.

Demolition is a thorny issue in fast-urbanizing China. Some government departments and developers have under-compensated people being relocated. Authorities may resort to forced demolition when the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

"House expropriation and demolition are closely related to people's immediate interests, and the key conflict in most of these cases centered on compensation," said SPC official Wang Zhenyu.

SPC figures show that Chinese courts have handled some 7,000-8,000 demolition-related cases every year since 2011.

Under the State Council's regulation, if the government can not reach agreement with homeowners, demolition can only be carried out after a court's review and approval.

"The interests of various parties concerned posed great difficulties for court judges, but however difficult the cases are, the courts will handle them in accordance with the law," Wang said.

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