Yesterday, a "building in midair from forced demolition" photograph attracted attention on the internet. A 7 story residential building in Mianyang City of Sichuan province where the top floor resident has not moved has had its bottom 5 floors' stairs demolished by excavators. The developer carrying out the demolition says that this demolition project is a local post-disaster reconstruction project.
In China, there is a difference between regular 拆 (chai, demolish) and 强拆 (qiang chai, forced demolition). What are forced demolitions? They are when a building is demolished by forcibly evicting the residents.
Sichuan Mianyang residential building made into a “castle in the sky” by forced demolition, top-floor resident had not yet relocated
January 6th, in Sichuan province’s Mianyang City is a 7 story residential building, where the resident in the top floor has not moved, but the bottom 5 floors’ stairs have been demolished by excavators, and is now like a “castle in the sky” [building in midair]. The developer says this project is a post-earthquake disaster reconstruction project approved by the Mianyang City municipal government, that all demolished buildings are derelict buildings.
The building's first 5 floors have all been gutted. The resident whose home is being demolished, Zhao Yanhong, says she is a laid-off worker of the Mianyang Huayi Company, which went bankrupt 10 years ago. When the company divested its residential buildings, it sold its land to the Mianyang Yachuan Real Estate Company, and in 2010 July, this real estate company prepared to begin development of commercial buildings on this property, and began demolishing the residential buildings.
Looking at the residential building from a distance, it looks like a "castle in the sky". Zhao Yanhong explains that the new buildings will have elevators, will have larger public spaces, and calculated that the compensated usable area is less than the old building. Therefore, she wouldn't agree to the conditions. Yachuan company people have only met her once, "discussed 30 minutes, was not committed to reaching an agreement, nor did they produce the legal procedures/documentation". Thereafter, on the night between 2010 December 31st and the morning of this year's January 1st, they gutted the bottom 5 floors of her building.
The gutted residential building. Zhao Yanhong says that this building is now on the verge of collapse, and all of her furniture is still in there, unable to be moved out. This residential complex had a total of 6 buildings, and over 200 homes. She says the Yachuan company hired unidentified/unknown people to beat the residents of the homes to be demolished, and so far there many have already been hurt, with one person being seriously hurt.
A demolition record produced by the project's demolition group. Included in the buildings demolished is a singles' dormitory. This dormitory's residents said that those who lived in it were all workers who were in hardship. The workers had been asking to purchase the property rights but the company's leadership refused. When the Huayi company was undergoing bankruptcy, the company leadership promised that they would not sell the homes to anyone. "Now we know that they were only saying that to secretly sell it to the Yachuan company."
A banner on an another old-style building currently being demolished. Yesterday, the Yachuan company boss He Xinggui explained that this is a post-earthquake disaster reconstruction project approved by the Mianyang City municipal government. All the buildings they are demolishing are derelict buildings.
The topmost resident is like living in midair. He Xinggui says what he is doing is transforming derelict buildings, thinks it is a post-disaster reconstruction project, a special policy. Of the 5 pieces of documentation for legal demolition requested by the residents, he says he has the building project approval document but the other several documents he can only get after demolition.
A public bus downstairs. With regards to the resident allegation that his company beat and hurt many people, He says he himself does not know about it. "If I really beat and hurt people, let them go to the political and legal authorities. I don't believe the political and legal authorities would cover up for me".
Comments from Mop:
Living in a midair building on the verge of collapse”, the owner is in a mess…
If it collapses, who will take responsibility?
He makes it so you have people but no house to live in. You make it so he has a house but no one to live in it. Why not?
As someone from Mianyang, this occurrence makes me feel profound tragedy.
A house purchased with an entire youth of toiling, only to be taken back by the government 70 years later, and the land again sold to another developer. I hope the next generation is not like me, that they will have a house that they can leave for several generations of descendants to live in. How great that would be.
Where? I will go be an onlooker.
Born in this society,
whatever happens, none of it surprises me anymore. I won’t hide myself.
Come [across provinces to] arrest me.
Lou zhu you swear this wasn’t caused by an earthquake?
A building on the verge of collapse, a political power on the verge of collapse.
The earthquake didn’t bring it all down, but the forced demolition team sure fucked it. Nothing to say, really.
If it were Brother Tao’s [Hu Jintao] home, it would still be: Demolish it!
Sometimes property developers are ruthless. Sometimes nail-house residents are greedy. What do you think is usually the case?