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Corrupt Evictions for Beijing Olympics

Beijing Construction: Forced evictions

“In the middle of the night, while they were sleeping, people came in and broke up the courtyard wall. There were lots of people living there together in this building, they had a shop, it was really dangerous, there were still people living there.”
—“Zhang,” friend of a forcibly evicted Beijing family

China’s rapid urban development, fueled in Beijing by preparations for the 2008 Olympics, is leading to the eviction of homeowners and tenants in violation of Chinese law and international standards on the right to housing. In many cities, Chinese local authorities and developers are forcibly evicting hundreds of thousands of homeowners and tenants who have little legal recourse. Evicted residents left with few avenues of redress have increasingly taken to the streets to protest, where they have met police repression.

Developers often work with local government officials to request and implement forced evictions. Widespread corruption can lead Communist Party officials to favor the interests of developers over those of residents. Courts often refuse to hear eviction cases because of pressure by local officials. As a result, people who challenge their eviction cannot properly pursue their claims through arbitration or in court. Where residents do receive compensation, it is often inadequate. Human Rights Watch said that national legal reforms have had minimal impact in reversing this situation.

From: Human Rights and the Olympics in China.

Source; Human Rights Watch

Recommendations to international financial institutions, developers, construction companies, architectural firms, and others involved in building projects in China:

  • Show due diligence in ensuring that local authorities protect due process rights for evictees. The World Bank Operational Policy on Involuntary Resettlement aims to ensure that involuntary resettlement related to Bank projects is carried out with due process, adequate compensation and with the full participation and consideration of the affected people. This policy should be used as a baseline, though lenders and businesses should take additional steps to ensure that analysis and evaluation is done by monitors who are truly independent of the government. In addition, international investors and businesses involved in construction projects in China should require that local authorities provide advanced notice to residents of eviction, monitor the process of forced evictions, avoid use of force, and establish functional arbitration and judicial procedures for residents who refuse to relocate. They should monitor and report on compliance with these requirements.
  • Businesses should conduct a risk analysis of forced evictions in target project areas, and develop policies to prevent abuses. Businesses should conduct an analysis of the process of forced evictions in project areas that includes an examination of persons currently living in the planned building site, and the background and prior conduct of contractors and the local development and eviction management department. Based on this analysis, they should develop policies that will minimize negative impact on residents.
  • As part of working agreements with Chinese partners, press for the reform of national and local demolition and eviction regulations. Regulations should be reformed to include basic due process protections for evicted residents, and to eliminate provisions that permit demolition during pending lawsuits.

Source: Demolished: Forced Evictions and the Tenants' Rights Movement in China

See also: Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions

See also: Controversy for Olympic Sponsors

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