Hundreds of thousands of Chinese homeowners and tenants are being forcibly evicted -- sometimes bulldozed out of their homes -- to make way for development projects, a rights group said yesterday.
In a report urging better protection of personal property, New York-based Human Rights Watch said developers and officials usually first try to tempt residents into moving out by offering compensation or new housing.
When those inducements fail, however, they resort to stronger methods, the report said. Forced evictions often come in the dead of night.
"Victims are sometimes evicted by hired thugs or have their homes knocked over by bulldozers while they are asleep in bed," said Sara Davis, a researcher for Human Rights Watch based in Hong Kong.
The report comes just weeks after China amended its Constitution to include its first explicit guarantees of individual property rights. Human Rights Watch urged the government to ensure those newly stated rights are protected, saying evicted residents have usually had little success getting help through the legal system.
"On paper, the new Constitutional amendment may provide some protection, but these words need to be translated into action," Davis said. "Instead of enforcing existing laws, local officials do little to stop illegal practices and in fact often benefit financially from close association with the developers."
Urban redevelopment in China often has led to clashes between authorities and householders demanding more compensation. Residents of destroyed areas are usually given too little money to buy new homes nearby or moved to outlying areas far from their jobs.
No precise figure is known for the number of people forcibly evicted nationwide.
Yet, in Shanghai alone, the homes of 2.5 million people have been demolished since the 1990s to clear land for high-rise hotels, shopping centers and apartment complexes. Responding to mounting anger over the issue, the city government issued rules last year banning evictions by force.
It is unclear whether the new rules have had any impact: The authorities keep a tight lid on protests in China's largest city and some of those involved in past conflicts have been jailed.
City officials usually refuse comment on such cases, or say only that they are being handled according to the law.
Evictions continue amid a national construction boom. Those required to move often are given little notice and, in some cases, never receive the compensation promised, Human Right Watch said.
Chinese from other provinces often travel to Beijing in hopes of getting central government officials to intervene in their cases, which frequently drag on for years.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle