Thursday, April 17, 2008

Land rights struggle erupts in China

Chengdu (China), April 15: Adopting a model used in its rich coastal regions, China is working to develop its poor western areas but the development push is triggering a struggle over land rights. Over the past decade, China's booming real estate market has been an engine of growth bringing spectacular wealth to well-connected developers and private home ownership to people once nurtured on government-owned housing.
Now the real estate boom is spreading inland and, despite a landmark property law introduced last year, residents are facing what they say are injustices stemming from collusion between developers and local government.
The law, for the first time in communist China's history, made “private property” legal, giving some hope to homeowners and farmers who have for years battled against government eviction orders and low compensation.
But in a suburb of Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu in southwest China, about 50 families at an old closed-down plastic factory are refusing to move out of the homes they have lived in for decades.
On a recent visit to the Chengdu suburb, banners and slogans hung from the buildings built during the backward years of Chinese communism in the early 1970s, saying, “we want transparency, justice and impartiality.”
“I have spent dozens of years working here and now I am only asking for a simple place to live,” said a man (52), a resident in Wenjiang suburb who is refusing to move. “A new apartment will cost me a huge amount of money.” According to the families, the developers are offering 8,000 yuan ($1,140) in compensation to move out, far from enough cash to purchase another house.

No comments: