Impacts of City Demolition and Restoration: Oppositions and Protests

Abstract

These two video clips documented the undisclosed protesting events happening after the eviction and demolition order was given to remove and relocate local residence living near the Datong City Wall.

On 29 March 2010, in front of the Datong Government Doors, a group of processed meat factory workers stood up. The Datong Tongfeng Processed Meat Factory declared broke one ear ago in May 2009, but the workers never understand why. Shortly after their gathering, in Datong Xihan lingxiang Dongxiao River Village, villagers came to municipal government. The demanded for a reason in losing their land rights and lost of income, their land were sold to the Tong Coal Corporate by the village government, making pocket profit out of the money obtained. In the same day, another protesting activity was initiated by a group of residence living in the forcibly evicted and demolished housing settlements. It was told that such protests has been ongoing for days. Housing quarters that are within 80-120 meters from both sides of the old city wall had to be demolished. Yet, the lack of complementary houses left citizens to relocate themselves.

On 17 May 2011, a violent evacuation and demolishment incident occurred in Datong, triggering local residence to step up and protest against such wrong doings. The recent eviction and demolition actions led by the local government had already received a lot of questioning and even aroused collective events to take place.

 

References

  1. Bxnews (2010). Forceful Eviction of the Datong City Wall: Protests by Lost-land Farmers and Enterprise Workers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCsonTAheD4
  2. RFA (2011). Datong District Forceful Eviction and Demolition: Continuous Protests. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUjB9XBPY0Y

1 Comment on “Impacts of City Demolition and Restoration: Oppositions and Protests

  1. Usually, protests of inhabitants against top-down urban development plans are seldom treated with tolerance in mainland China. Most of the time, those reluctant voices will just be ignored and the proposed projects will be “efficiently finished” as planned. However, I seriously think the unheard voices of the citizens are the real keys to build the real and true “harmonious China”. Conflicts happen in every society and in every country, but eliminating different voices to fabricate the image of a country with “no conflicts” could only make no progress in letting cities serve their real functions. Sadly, China right now fails to admit the existence of the diverse opinions of citizens on the place they live and the way they want their place to be. In Hong Kong, urban revitalisation can be an extremely complicated matter. The legal permits necessary to be obtained and complex development rules that need to be followed make things legally time-consuming; while collecting opinions and consultation take time too. These things sometimes make projects hard to be completed “efficiently” – but at the same time the rights of the original inhabitants are comparably more protected and respected; and their opinions more valued. Do we only want real efficiency in completing development targets or we care more about building a better city? Or maybe we don’t have a choice in either ways; they are just results of two different political systems!

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