Government declares forced demolitions a crime

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In an attempt to address one of China’s major social problems, the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Ministry of Supervision has issued a notice requiring “discipline inspection organs at all levels to strengthen supervision and inspection of the implementation of land expropriation and demolition policies, resolutely stop and correct illegal demolition activities in a bid to protect the people’s interests, promote scientific development and social harmony and stability”.

The notice points out that the “Regulation on the Expropriation of Buildings on State-owned Land and Compensation”, issued by the State Council, is the basic law that regulates house acquisitions and compensation. The discipline inspection and supervision organs at all levels should strengthen the implementation of the “Regulation” and urge local departments to expropriate legally and provide equitable compensation.

The notice also asserts that local governments and relevant departments should thoroughly implement “people-oriented policies”, governing for the people. Channels for feedback and appeals should be open. Land acquisitions and demolitions “firmly rely on the support and participation of the public”, and therefore it is important to map out emergency programs to cope with possible land dispute emergencies to protect the rights and interests of the people. It is stressed that forced demolitions which have been decided but not yet carried out before the “Regulations” were issued shall not be implemented for the time being, and need to await the People’s Court’s decisions. Leaders will be investigated and held accountable if there is any malfeasance in the forced demolitions.