'Barbaric' relocation outlawed
Shanghai Daily news
Anyone found cutting off power, water or gas to homes in order to
encourage residents to move out and make way for infrastructure of commercial
construction projects could face criminal penalties in the future, including
jail terms or fines, the city announced yesterday.
A government release on
the policy said criminal charges will only be laid, however, if such acts lead
to "severe consequences."
Due to the city's rapid development over the past
15 years, nearly a million families have had to relocate to make way for
infrastructure projects, such as subway lines and elevated highways, or
commercial construction, such as shopping malls and office buildings.
the residents are given compensation so they can afford to buy a new home, many
have complained they weren't offered enough money and refused to leave. In order
to encourage residents to stop fighting and start packing, some companies have
resorted to illegal means to force them out.
Just last month, local police
arrested the manager of a property company and two of his employees accused of
setting fire to a three-story building in Xuhui District on January 9 in order
to force an elderly couple to move. The couple died in the blaze.
complaints about relocation becoming more common, the government said yesterday
it will ensure residents have stronger legal rights, only allow qualified
companies to negotiate compensation and make the system for calculating
remuneration more transparent.
"We will conduct strict supervision to
standardize relocation work and to safeguard people's legal rights and
interests," Vice Mayor Yang Xiong told a government meeting yesterday.
said the city will limit the number of relocated families to fewer than 60,000
Yang also called on government officials at all levels to
carefully listen to people's complaints and to severely punish those relocation
employees who force residents to move out by "barbaric means."
government will push ahead with relocation work to make way for key
infrastructure projects, including sites for the 2010 World Expo, it will
control the number of families moved to make way for commercial construction
this year, he said.
The city will also set up a standard for those who move
to make way for government projects, and publish it so residents can calculate
how much compensation they should receive.
Payment will be calculated based
on the location of the family's home, its size, age and condition. Compensation
for those relocated by commercial projects is generally negotiated on a
The government will also improve supervision of
relocation companies. Such companies are generally hired by the government or
developers to handle all negotiations with families that must move. Unqualified
firms won't be allowed to engage in the business in the future, government
officials said yesterday.
More than 900,000 local families or about 2.8
million people have been relocated from their old and dilapidated houses and
moved into new apartments since the early 1990s, according to the city