Yanqing forced demolition covered in detail


Beijing Times, April 14, 2010

Beijing Times reports on the current state of the Bird’s Nest stadium, which was built with artistic consultancy by Ai Weiwei and under Herzog & de Meuron. An inside report talks about the construction of a restaurant within as well as plans to take the Olympic torch from the roof and displaying it on ground level.

On the front page, however, news that Adili Wuxor, a legendary tight rope walker from Xinjiang province, walked a tightrope above the Bird’s Nest stadium yesterday. It also announced that Adili is going to live for 60 days in a little house that is 60 meters above the ground in the stadium - a tourist attraction amongst many others.

Special attention is given to another story on the right hand column (circled in red). The beginnings of a forced demolition in Yanqing (延庆), a suburb northwest of Beijing, took place yesterday. Beijing Times devoted an entire page of report inside:

The incident happened on Ziyoucun road, on the west side of Gelanshanshui district (自由街村格兰山水小区). 603 families live here. Since September last year, more than 500 families’ homes have been demolished; there are only 26 families left. The home of 53-year-old Kang Shunqing (康顺清) is one of these families.

At 8am yesterday, the town government organized demolition workers to arrive on the scene and announce their decision about demolition. As the excavator started demolishing, Kang Shunqing and his wife began to forcefully resist, and the neighbors nearby, who also has not moved, quickly arrived on the scene to help.

Kang Shunqing said, when they started, around a dozen of them stationed themselves outside the doors, but as the excavator lifted the roof off the building, a few poles inside the house were broken, and they could only retreat to inside the house. Afterward, seven or eight men in black clothes arrived and tried to pull them out of the house, but they did not succeed; in order to prevent the demolition, they also threw bottles outside the house.

After the episode, Kang kowtowed to his neighbors to say thank you. They also erected poles around where they lived in order to prevent any midnight attacks, says the paper.

The demolition crew and government officials left at 6pm.

Kang said that last September he was offered one big and one small house, but he needed to pay money according to each square meter. Kang said, “I am an ordinary person, I don’t have a job, where do I go to get hundreds of thousands of yuan?” Therefore they never reached an agreement, until the forced demolition.

The government says that the demolition is part of a “village renovation project” and the 26 families who don’t want to move are affecting the relocation of the other 500 families. Therefore they used forced demolition in order to protect the interests of the other villagers. The government contributes 900 yuan to each square meter of the relocated house, with the residents paying 918 yuan. As for spraying white foam into the house, they were afraid that the villagers were throwing out bottles containing petrol. One of the members of the demolition company sustained an injury on his face, needing eight stitches.

The website of the Beijing Times has put up a video of the demolition, showing the spraying of “white foam” and the demolition process. It also said in the video that although on that day the the residents were safe, demolition may begin again on the next day.

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