International rights group urges Chinese govt to halt rising force eviction in country

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Violent forced evictions are on the rise in China.
Image©Benjamin gz imagine china 
Beijing: International rights group Amnesty International says violent forced evictions in China are on the rise as local authorities seek to offset huge debts by seizing and then selling off land in suspect deals with property developers.

The right group also urged government action over the issue.

In a new 85-page report, Standing Their Ground, Amnesty International highlights how forced evictions - a longstanding cause of discontent within China - have increased significantly in the past two years in order to clear the way for developments.

Local governments have borrowed huge sums from state banks to finance stimulus projects and now rely on land sales to cover the payments.

This has resulted in deaths, beatings, harassment and imprisonment of residents who have been forced from their homes across the country in both rural and urban areas.

Some were in such despair they set themselves on fire in drastic protests of last resort. 

Proper consultation or notice as required under international law as well as adequate alternative housing are seldom given and any compensation falls far short of the true market value.

Residents come under concerted campaigns including the cutting off of essential services like water and heating. Civil servants who oppose land deals often face reprisals.

Forced evictions remain one of the greatest issues of popular discontent within China. Premier Wen Jiabao has acknowledged the gravity of the situation and there has been some progress towards protecting people against forced evictions in line with international law and standards.

For the first time, new regulations adopted in 2011 state that compensation for homeowners must not be lower than market value and outlawed the use of violence.

However, these laws and regulations still fall far short of the required standards and apply only to city dwellers.

Rural communities remain vulnerable to forced evictions, particularly those close to urban areas. With urbanization happening so quickly around them, and compensation based on the agricultural value rather than the true market value, farmers are often priced out of the communities they have lived in their whole lives.

Another major weakness in the latest regulations is that they only provide protections for homeowners, overlooking the rights of tenants.

Forced evictions - the removal against their will of individuals, families or communities from the homes or the land they occupy without access to legal or other protections - are banned under international law.

Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to immediately halt all forced evictions and ensure adequate safeguards are put in place in line with international law, including:

Implement effective measures to ensure the entire population a degree of security of tenure that would protect them from forced evictions and other threats and harassment.

-Ensure that nobody is rendered homeless as a result of a forced eviction and all persons who can not provide for themselves are given adequate alternative housing.

-Ensure that all victims of forced evictions have access to independent and impartial adjudication of their complaints and to an effective remedy.

-Punish and prosecute those who use violence during the eviction process.
Next Post »