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Village #20 Jiujingzhuang

Village #20 is Jiujingzhuang (Fishery workers housing compound)

Fengtai District, Nanyuanxiang (Nanyuan township)

久敬庄村(渔场大院排房地区)

丰台区南苑乡

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konjaku: Jiujingzhuang is outside the South 4th Ring Road. Unlike our first two examples from Fengtai, it is not “inside the 3rd ring” on sites highly desirable for big developers. It’s origin as row-housing built for fishery workers illustrates the formerly rural character of this area.

http://news.sina.com.cn/o/2010-04-10/011717348891s.shtml

Jiujinzhxuang is located in Fengtai, Nanyuanxiang town, under the Dahongmen administrative village. Land for replacement housing is 14 hectares, with buildable space of  294,000 square meters, on a site to the southwest of Dahongmen village, not too far from the #10 subway, near the South 4th Ring Road.

A Fengtai district official said that this year (2011), Fengtai would start the project of rural-urban integration, involving the transformation of five listed-up villages. By 2015, urbanization of the district around the Yongding river should be completed, bringing about the transformation of rural areas inside the 5th Ring.

The transformation of the 50 focal-point villages began in 2010. In Fengtai, Jiujingzhuang and eight other locations will be transformed, involving 8078 houses, 22,600 residents, and 170,000 migrants.

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_5e7f2b6e0102yn6l.html

(original date unknown)

Jiujingzhuang was originally the living quarters for workers in the southern suburbs rural area who were raising fish. There were 200 households living in evenly lined-up buildings inside a large compound. In recent years, this compound became famous in Beijing’s southern suburb as “the rental compound.” The were more than 4000 migrants living inside it, therefore in 2009 it was selected as one of the 50 listed-up areas to be transformed.

At present the illegal buildings in the compound extending over 70,000 square meters have been demolished, and the area is all empty ground. According to an official the villagers will each get get 50 square meters in replacement housing for free, and other residents 30 square meters. They will get compensation for demolished homes as well as 1000 yuan per month in living expenses until they move into new housing, and once they move in they will transfer to urban household registry and receive social security payments. The Dahongmen government will also set aside land for commercial purposes. They will construct buildings for businesses to provide employment opportunities for the villagers.

konjaku: the following article describes Jiujingzhuang before it was transformed

Tenants worry that urban transformation “putting in order” will sweep them away

http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2010-01-08/095216901552s.shtml

2010-01-08

The typical tenant in the urban village has come to Beijing from elsewhere, and opened a small business to support his or her family.  Although part of the drifting population, these tenants feel affection for their current home, just like the original villagers. There are many such tenants in urban villages in southern Beijing They have mixed feelings about the urban transformation. What will it bring for them? They can’t say for certain, they can only go forward one day at a time. Will they be able to grow their businesses in the new situation that emerges, or will they find they can no longer afford to rent, and have to give up? ‘Will the coming urban transformation leave us as we are, or will it fall upon us and transform us too?’

Jiujingzhuang

There are many shops on both sides of Jiujingzhuang Village road, and behind the shops are two- and three-story buildings. The stores are mostly run by migrants. On the buildings behind the upper floors are divided into rooms, which the village residents rent out to migrants.

Rental signs ate posted everywhere, and perhaps everything is for rent. The villagers have all moved to another district nearby, and are renting their one-story houses, as well as the rooms upstairs. It would be hard to find an original inhabitant anywhere.

The villagers’ original one-story houses, set inside a courtyard, are now occupied by three or four tenants. They live in cramped rooms, piled up with odds and ends, the bed taking up half the space. Clothes are drying on the low rooftops.  If there is a 20-inch color  TV to watch, it’s not such a bad situation.

Fried meatballs: At around 3 in the afternoon, in Jiujingzhuang, in a shack inside the Xin family compound, old Mr Chu has already prepared  his frying equipment and put on his cook’s hat. Sitting straight, with his left hand he takes a portion of his prepared material, and with one movement a round meatball emerges up from between his forefinger and thumb.

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In Jiujingzhuang, there are many people like Mr Chu.In the Xin compound there are some twenty other families. Two sell pig’s head meat, another goes out into the village streets to sell breakfasts, next door is someone who sells water…they have all come to Beijing to use their skills to make a living.

Inside the limited space of the courtyard, Mr Chu built himself a shack out of brick fragments and asbestos shingles, and stocked it with his cooking supplies. This became his workplace kitchen.

Four yuan (60 cents) worth of Mr Chu’s meatballs fill a small container. From a line of cooks, he is proud of his skills, and he charges slightly above what is the norm in Jiujingzhuang. He sells enough to make a modest profit.

Mr Chu is from the northeast. He came with his wife and child to Beijing two years ago. Strangers here, at first they had to pay 1000 yuan a month to rent one room.

When Mr Chu was telling about this, an expression of worry came onto his wife’s face.  At that time they worked so hard to pay the rent, and had so little left over.  Now their business has finally improved, but how could they have imagined that the place they were renting would be slated to be demolished? Now they will have to start all over again.

After coming to Beijing and renting the room that was too expensive, Mr Chu tried again. This time, he went south, on a search for something for 500 yuan a month, and the only thing suitable he found was this place in Jiujingzhuang. The family of three settled down here, living in a compound with many other families.

The compound with multiple other tenants was dirty and messy. If you walk inside, the first thing you see is a big pile of garbage. In the summer, the stench can become unbearable. But for the Chu family, this was for a time a secure and stable place to rest  after a drifting, transient existence. Even though the family works from dawn to dusk daily in their fried meatball business, they are actually content with their lot.

Now that information about the areas affected by urban transformation comes out daily, Mr Chu has to face squarely the fact that their  compound will be demolished. “If it is demolished we will get no compensation [not being village residents], if it is not demolished, it is still no guarantee of anything.” If they have to move, they have no choice but to accept their fate.

Mr Chu now pays only 300 to 400 yuan per month for rent, and another 900 yuan to rent his store.This is a considerable expense for his family. Where will they be able to go to find such low-priced accommodations?

Mr Chu doesn’t want to have to start over again. They will run their business from day to day, and when the time comes that they cannot continue without moving, they will pack up and go back to the northeast. “My home is within the northeast open economic zone, so things might actually be better than here.” He smiled bitterly.

Reporter Wang Yi, trainee Tao Ran

Village # 19 Xiajia Hutong

Village # 19 is Xiajia Hutong, literally, “Xiajia Hutong Managed Area”

Xiajia Hutong Managed Area 夏家胡同管委会

Fengtai District, Huaxiang town 丰台区花乡

konjaku: Unlike Xiju village with its population of 6700, Xiajia Hutong is small. But both are in the same area, the “southwest third ring,” which has drawn the interest of large developers who see an opportunity to build luxury mansions for the wealthy.

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http://business.sohu.com/20140228/n395814141.shtml

Excerpt from “Two plots of land sell for 8.5 billion — the Xiju village site may become a new development of residential mansions”

2014-04-28

Even though the environment around the Xiju land parcel is complicated, with a lack of amenities and services, and a high-density population living in old and crumbling housing, the Longhu Real Estate Company considers that “the defects do not outweigh the merits.” “Otherwise, on the day of the auction, there wouldn’t have been so many companies scrambling to bid.” This Longhu Beijing representative divulged that the Xiju location was highly desirable, with subway and business districts close by. Longhu has not participated in many land auctions in recent years, but rather has concentrated in developing properties over subway stations, and land parcels in better environments. However the Xiju area is not too bad, and it fits Longhu’s “taste” of land acquisition, close enough to the city proper, but spacious enough to expand in all directions.

A Taihe Group representative said that the southwest third ring area of Beijing had recently become the location for a number of high-end residences, with more to come. Was the Taihe Group thinking of becoming “neighbors” with Longhu there? The representative laughed and responded that in regard to this area, “great minds think alike,” and that rather than one developer working all alone, it would be far better to have several developers creating complementary projects, thus increasing the overall value of the district.

konjaku: Taihe Group became famous (or notorious) for a 2012 development of luxury villas that sold for 47 million each. Here are some images of Longhu xichen yuanzhu, a development near Xiju village:

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konjaku: the following article from 2010 gives a description of Xiajia Hutong before it was transformed.

http://news.ifeng.com/mainland/201004/0402_17_1593812_1.shtml

2010-04-02

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Xiajia Hutong Managed Area is in Fengtai District, near the southern Third Ring.  Of the 50 focal-point villages, it is one of the most stressed, with the inverted ratio between residents and migrants being especially prominent. There are 187 households with 404 residents in total, and a migrant population of 6518, making the ration 1:16.

A Beijing City planning committee official said,  the Xiajia Hutong Managed Area is not actually a village, but rather an area run by the Huaxiang Agricultural Company, dispersed around Jijiamao village. In this area there are many illegal buildings, built up to four or five stories, with many rooms to let to tenants. There are many safety problems (hidden dangers).

The official said because the Xiajia Hutong Managed Area has very little land which can be used to build on, they cannot follow the usual procedure for relocating villages. Because only 187 households need to move, replacement housing will be close by in Jijiamao village,  on the  number 10 subway line next to the Second Stage Yuquanying station.

As for the Xiajia Hutong Managed Area site, the official said,  the current plan is that half of it will go to building rental housing, and the other half to high tech industry, to make up for the relative lack of such industry in the southern part of the city. 

Reporter’s visit

The car going on the Wanliu Bridge side road follows a bend, entering a three meter wide alley. The traffic noise from the Third Ring Road gradually disappears, and we see a dirty and messy residential neighborhood. A sign on a gate says, Xiajia Hutong. Not many people know this place even exists.

There are three and four story buildings, massed tightly together, some only one meter apart. At 4 in the afternoon people have already turned on lights [because there is so little sunlight]. At the car repair shop at the village entrance, one can hear many dialects.

Yesterday afternoon 55 year old Si Tongxi and his wife were sitting at home watching TV. They live in one of the few one-story household compounds in the area, surrounded by taller buildings. It’s like living under a ceiling, no sunlight gets through.”  Starting in the 1990s many temporary workers came here, and Si Tongxi  began renting rooms to them. With eight rooms to rent, he makes 2400 yuan per month. About relocating  Si Tongxi  said, “On the one hand, we will have sunshine, and I won’t have to worry about the building sinking into the ground. On the other hand, when we ‘move up’ to a better residence,  we won’t have the land and household compound, we won’t have the rental income,  and making a living will become difficult.”

konjaku: Now we move to 2013. The Xiajia Hutong buildings have been demolished and the residents relocated.

http://fdc.fang.com/news/2013-06-20/10350369.htm

2013-06-20

In 2010, Xiajia Hutong, as one of the 50 focal-point villages, was slated to be transformed. According to the media, the compensation terms were favorable, and in only 20 days 87 households had signed contracts agreeing to be relocated.

When we investigated the terms of the plan, we discovered that the residents would be paid 20,500 yuan per square meter for moving out, and 25,500 yuan per square meter for agreeing to the demolition and relocation. In replacement housing they would receive the same area as the area of their old homes. If  the replacement housing unit was smaller than their old house, they would receive 19,000 yuan per square meter to make up the difference.

At the end of 2010, commercial market price housing in that area  was already 30,000 yuan per square meter. A villager said that the amount of money actually in the compensation fund was not as much as the plan required.

According to the public announcement, the plot of land to be sold was 144,000 square meters, with a starting price in the auction of 1.31 billion yuan. It was required that not less than 10,000 square meters be set aside to build public housing.

The auction was suspended, apparently because the Beijing city government felt the real estate market needed to cool off, and letting this auction continue was like pouring oil on the flames. However, the auction was quickly resumed, but the opening bid was lowered from 1.359 billion (the price before it had been suspended) to 49 million yuan. Because the site was inside the third ring,  once again competition was fierce.

Apartments up for re-sale at the nearby Wannian Huacheng 5th stage [high-end residential ] complex  go for 38,000 yuan per square meter, but one real estate consultant believes that by the time a project is completed at the Xiajia Hutong site, the price they can get will be up to 80,000, because of the excellent location. The site, excluding the public housing, is just big enough to build 400-500 residential units.

But the immediate environment around Xiajia Hutong is not in good shape: it lacks decent stores and facilities, and to the north and west are neighborhoods of shack-dwellers which the government at present has no plans to clear up. To produce a desirable real-estate product in the midst of this environment will be a real test.

konjaku: omitted rest of article, which describes the real estate corporations bidding on the site, and their respective strategies.

Wannian Huacheng 5th stage 万年花城五期

photo of Wannian Huacheng 5th stageCgqJM1p6w6OAAUNAAAlAGzNGGRg533.jpg_P5.jpg

konjaku: despite the cooling-off period, the land still went for a record-breaking price.

Maoyuan for 17.7 billion (2.5 billion dollars) picks off Xiajia Hutong site –a value of 45000 yuan (6,500 dollars) per square meter

http://bj.house.163.com/13/0703/16/92SEJPAD00073SD3.html

2013-07-03

On 07-03,  the Fengtai district Huaxiang town Xiajia Hutong parcel went to Maoyuan, after fierce competitive bidding from fifteen firms, for 17.8 billion, 30.2% above the original price. With a price of 45819 yuan per square meter , this is the highest land price in Beijing this year (2013)

Photo of the site

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The Xiajia Hutong recording breaking price — Beijing core districts becoming increasingly for the wealthy

http://bj.house.163.com/13/0702/15/92PQ9OIN00073SD3.html

2013-07-03

A strong demand from the wealthy class for luxury residences is driving them outward, to the “outer city.” Sunhexiang in Chaoyang, Wanliu in Haidian are high-end residential districts. Tiangongyuan, Fangshan, etc., are being settled by office workers.

But the goal of the rich to buy a residence within the city center has, if anything, increased. Nowadays, any land parcel inside the fourth ring will fetch record breaking prices — this is only a mild exaggeration. Previously land in Fengtai district Huaxiang town has twice gone for soaring prices. On 2013-07-03,  the Xiajia Hutong site became the “land king” of the day.

[omitted –analysis of the land king phenomenon and how it shows no signs of dissipating]

Sunhexiang in Chaoyang  朝阳孙河乡

Wanliu in Haidian  海淀万柳等区

Tiangongyuan 天宫院

Fangshan 房山

Village # 18: Xiju village in Fengtai

konjaku: Village #18 is Xiju, located in Lugouqiao township, Fengtai District. We move from  Haidian District, in the northwest, to Fengtai, directly to the south.

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 10.27.24 AM.pngI will follow the transformation of Xiju by starting at the end of the process, in the near present (2017), and going backward to 2009, when it was put on the list of 50 focal-point villages (with a few exceptions for coherence). Xiju was a large village, which meant that funding was, and continues to be, the major problem. Although it seems that the villagers are now well-off, and that plenty of capital has been raised selling off parcels of village land, the issue of whether villagers have fully transitioned to urban residencies with all the benefits involved, is left unsettled.

Xiju village 西局村

Fengtai District, Lugouqiao township 丰台区卢沟桥乡

2017

Two land parcels in Beijing sell for 8.66 billion yuan –Kowloon Wharf Holdings buys the Fengtai parcel

http://www.ckxx.net/p/84112.html

2017-09-22 

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land and Resources has closed the deal on two parcels of land that it auctioned off. One is in Tongzhou, the other is the Fengtai district former Xiju village site transformation project. The Fengtai parcel attracted nine major developers, and after 38 rounds of bidding in the end it went to Kowloon Wharf Holdings (a Hong Kong-based company) for 6.26 billion yuan, with a reserve requirement ratio of 16 percent (see note below), a 49.05 percent rise over the offering price.

The Fengtai district former Xiju village site 0611-638 parcel is about 37,000 square meters. It was auctioned off according to the “limited home-price competition” form of bidding, in which the price of the land itself is set beforehand, and the bidder who pledges to sell completed housing units at the lowest price among the bidders wins the right to develop the land. In this case,  the average price of a residential unit will be 77,800 yuan per square meter, and cannot exceed 81,690. In this development, 1500 square meters will be for a police sub-station, 200 square meters for a Community Health Service Center, 630 square meters for a nursing home,  140 square meters for a Senior Center, and 102783 square meters for residences.

In the vicinity of the Xiju village site one large residential development Longhu xichen yuanzhu, apartments resold on the market average 120,000 yuan per square meter, while apartments in other less fancy complexes go for 60 to 70,000 yuan. With a shortage of land parcels available for building in the area, it is rare for new residences to come on the market, so it will be interesting to see what prices will be like if any more come on the market. 

自持16%拿下reserve requirement ratio (the amount of cash that some banks must hold as reserves. In this case, those who bid had to have 16% of their bid,  perhaps 6 billion yuan, in reserve)

限房价竞地价limited home price competition

Longhu xichen yuanzhu龙湖西宸原著

konjaku: a land parcel from the site of former Xiju village (demolished 2010) is auctioned off by the government to a major developer –apparently a very desirable piece of land. Longhu xichen yuanzhu is a development of luxury houses (after Beijing, there is now one in Guanzghou, and one in Chongqing). 120 thousand yuan is 17,440 dollars, which means buying a 400 square meter house would cost approximately 7 million dollars. The “less fancy” apartments nearby would also cost in the millions. 

Longhu lichen yuanzhu photo:

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konjaku: there happens to be a photo on Google maps street view of the Xiju village site as it looks today.

There is a large shopping mall

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From this view, one can see part of the village replacement housing complex (the two tall buildings on the far right

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In this view, the replacement housing is on the left, and a new building project is on the right.

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A rendition of this building when it is completed (the surroundings do not seem accurate)

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konjaku: I can’t find any photos of the former village, but it is clear the area has been completely transformed.

 

2016

Wang Yibo, in Xiju village, the one who “cuts the braids.”

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2016-11-08 

http://renwen.beijing.gov.cn/jrbj/bjr/t1458333.htm

(Fengtai district, Luguoqiao town, Xiju village)

Wang Yibo was born in 1972. In 1990 she enlisted in the military, in 1991 she joined the (Communist) Party,  in 2005 she transferred to civilian life with a job on the Beijing City Defence Planning Commission,  in 2015 she took the post of Paryt Branch Secretary for Xiju village.

The location of Xiju village is advantageous, and the villagers are well-off. Renting apartments and other properties is the principal source of income. These well-to-do villagers are gradually transitioning from traditional village life to becoming residents in an urban community. From the outside, this looks like a typical urban neighborhood.

But after Wang Yibo settled in to her job, she discovered that although the villagers wore brand- name western clothes and had fancy cars,  on their heads still grew the long braids of the past. Their minds were closed off, their daily habits unchanged. If she did not lead them out of the small group in which they congregated, lagging behind together, then their urbanization would be on paper only, outward form without inner substance. As First Secretary, her job is not only to help them get by financially, but to help them merge into modern city life.

In 2014, Lugouqiao town began the “Intelligent Community” project, with Xiju village as one of the pilot locations [setting up an ICT system for information and social management]However in Xiju village nothing happened. The villagers were used to things as they were, and saw no reason to change, or  pursue something they considered “mere show.”

The Intelligent Community Project has been launched in a number of Beijing communities over a number of years now, and many residents have become aware of its benefits [lit., tasted its pleasant flavor]. In the so-called “big seven”: food, travel, transportation, housing, health, purchases, recreation –any resident with a cell phone or computer can access the network to find information or to complete transactions. Conversely, the network can also send residents important notices about health and other matters. 

The Intelligent Community is a project to make life more convenient for the people, but can only work if people work to make it happen, and participate in it. If all of Xiju got involved,  it would optimize the use of resources, lead to new ideas in social management, and promote social progress locally.

When Wang Yibo made these points to the Village Committee, she did not get the result she anticipated. One village cadre said the Intelligent Community was just a waste of time. Wang Yibo realized that minds of the village cadres were closed off, and they could not understand the tangible benefits of the project and the beneficial effect it would have on the lives of the common people.

Wang Yibo contacted the first Intelligent Community project completed in Beijing City, in Tuanjiehu, Chaoyang district, and on 01-11-2016 she led a team of seven from Xiju there for a tour. A staff member in the Management Service Center showed them in detail how the software worked, as they stood before a group of large monitors. The staff member used a keyboard to call up the transportation module, and on a large screen, they could focus in very clearly on an incident that had just happened: a driver had run his or her car into the entrance gate of a house, causing damage. This provoked a dispute. The staff member at once notified Public Security to go and take care of the issue.

Just as they finished watching this screen, there came in a communication from a resident that a building in the community district had lost power. The staf member at the keyboard called up the repair module,  and a moment later, the screen showed repair personnel arriving at the scene!

“Good heavens, so convenient, I’m awestruck!” Comments of amazement did not stop. “Our brains need to be repaired!”

After that, the village cadres held many meetings,  and after research began to construct an “Intelligent Community” that would fit with the situation of Xiju village. Since there were many older people, and medical treatment resources were limited, Wang Yibo suggested that they make a supplement to the software package focusing on medical issues.

2016-07, the software arrived and was put through a trial run, then released for use. The village committee not only helped every household set up the system’s mobile app on their phones, but showed them how to use it. Now the village committee operations, and the people’s daily life, have both undergone a great change.

For instance, previously village notices had to be communicated by phoning one household at a time. With 2300 households, this would take two or three days. If it was something important, they had to transfer personnel from other departments to help make the calls. Now the villagers all get the notices on their cell phones instantly, and the village committee can economize on its labor force and financial outlays.

The Xiju village software consists of  a system for managing or responding to 1) public emergencies  (sudden outbreaks of disease, natural disasters, etc.) 2) traffic problems 3) Public Security issues 4) announcements and messages in real time 5) on-line purchases from local stores and restaurants 6) health and medical treatment information 7) cultural activities 8) internet maintenance

The villagers that were most suspicious of and resistant to the Intelligent Community, are now volunteers spreading the word about it, on their own initiative. An elderly uncle who before did not understand or recognize the value of it said to Wang Yibo, “Secretary Wang, the new app is great! To get a haircut, I don’t have to go out, just go on the internet and soon a barber will be there,  making a house call. The other day our water tap was broken, before I had to call on the phone and make an appointment, wait a long time, and fill out a lot of papers. Now with just a tap on my cell phone, someone comes right away to fix it. Truly I never imagined a 70 year old like me could ever have such an easy life, and I’m so grateful to the Communist Party!

konjaku: the Xiju villagers have moved into replacement housing (details below). They apparently have received generous compensations (enough to buy fancy cars), and have extra residential units in the complex to rent out for a steady income.

2014

http://business.sohu.com/20140221/n395417839.shtml

2014-02-21

http://society.people.com.cn/n/2014/0220/c136657-24415983.html

2014-02-20

konjaku: the translation includes sections from two articles with similar content, put together. The Xiju village land is being sold off in stages, above was the 2017 auction, below is the one from 2014.

An official of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land and Resources has disclosed that the three land parcels sold yesterday, will add to our city163,000 square meters of land devoted to public housing (rental units aimed at mid to low income renters).

One of the land parcels was from the closely watched Xijju village site, which comprises the second stage of the transformation of that former village site to be auctioned off. It went to the Fuzhou Taihe Real Estate Company for 4.958 billion yuan, with a pledge to construct 50,000 square meters of public housing, at an average price of 29,000 yuan per square meter.

The former Xiju village site across the West Third Ring Road,  is close to the Beijing West Railway Station, the Liuliqiao subway station and the Lizeqiao  Bus Terminal, all of which service long-distance travellers. It is also convenient for 44 public transportation routes, including stations of the number 10 and number 14 subway. Xiju village was a typical linking point between the urban and rural areas, with a permanent resident population of 6700, and a floating population of over 80,000. The village environs were dirty and disorderly, with 30 tons of garbage needing to be removed every day. There were many public security incidents (crimes and arrests). The villagers urgently desired a change.

As part of the focal-point village project, in 2010 Xiju began to be transformed.  At present (2014) the villagers have completely the process of moving into a new residential community. After the village was demolished, the vacant land was set to be put on the market in four stages. Income from the sales will go to pay off remaining costs of demolition and relocation, and the villagers’ welfare benefits and social security.

The Xiju parcel was in high demand, as one of the few land parcels inside the third ring zoned for residential use.  The Municipal Bureau requirement that public housing must also be constructed there, will benefit some several thousand families. There is also a plan to use another section of the land for business development,  to accelerate development from the agricultural to more profitable enterprises, which will give the former villagers more wealth, and opportunities for top-quality employment.

The Xiju village land put on the market previously, in the first stage, which had 220,000 square meters of buildable space, was snapped up by the Longhu Real Estate Company. This parcel includes 100,000 square meters of replacement housing. What is up for auction now in the second stage is 170,500 square meters of buildable space, including 50,000 square meters of replacement housing. Even better, in three years, more adjacent land will be released for commercial use by the village.

public rental housing 公共租赁房

“buildable space of 220,000 square meters” 建筑规模22万平方米

konjaku:  I assume “buildable space” means, not the area of the land plot, but an estimation of the amount of space available after construction, including the space inside multi-storied buildings.

According to this article, the original Xiju was large: a population of 6700 means approximately 2000 households. This requires quite an investment just to demolish the village and relocate that many people, not to mention providing the social security and other benefits urban residents receive.

2013

Xiju village replacement housing will open its doors next month

http://esf.fang.com/newsecond/news/10494380.htm

2013-07-10

Yesterday was a special day for the residents of the former Xiju village –they were given a first look at their newly-built replacement housing.  These villagers –pioneers of the 50 village urban transformation project –will get the keys to their new residences over next month. The replacement housing, built on the Xiju D and E parcels, will have an area of more than 400,000 square meters (99 acres), fulfilling the goal of solving the housing issue by providing 3283 households with units. The 50 village project started in 2010, and the replacement housing for Xiju village was actually finished a year earlier than scheduled.

The new housing is served by three subway lines. Lines 10 and 14 –which just opened in May this year (2013) — go through Xiju Station, and a three or four hundred meter walk will bring one to line 9 at Qilizhuang station.

The new housing with the subway entrance in the foreground

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f80f411ae7f31807e66e3a.jpg

 

konjaku: Assuming a household is on average three people, 6700 divided by three is 2233. That would mean some 1000 extra units in this large development. The villagers moved in the 7th month of 2013. The following article takes Xiju as an example (at the end) of a larger problem: the lack of sufficient funds to complete the “urbanization process.” It cites this as a special problem for the sixteen villages in Haidian and Fengtai districts that are of the  ‘the utmost importance.’”

Follow-up development for the urbanization of “focal-point villages” suffers from a lack of funding

Source Xinjingbao, reporter Wang Shu

2013/12/20 (republished 2018-01-20)

Replacement housing for villagers displaced in the the 50 villages transformation project, started in 2009, has now by-and-large been completed. However, difficult problems still remain  in terms of assisting villagers to truly enter into urban life.

The project to transform 50 villages in Beijing’s urban-rural unification project has been physically completed, in the sense that construction of replacement housing has been essentially completed. But what about “urbanization” for the people who have been moved? There is still a lack of employment opportunities for former villagers, and the social security funds they should receive as new city residents (with an urban household registry) are lacking.

Yesterday, the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences issued its Blue Book for 2013. Included are several section on these problems, “ Thought and Practice Concerning the Urbanization of the Focal-Point Villages,” and “Employment Problems of Relocated Urban Villagers.”

The  transformation of 50 focal-point villages began in 2009, involving 85.3 square kilometers, 214,000 residents, and 1 million members of the floating population. There was widespread interest and concern throughout society in witnessing the demolition and relocation of Beiwu, Dawangjing, and Tangjialing.

Continuing after the first 50 villages, there are an additional 227 villages that are waiting to be transformed. The Blue Book’s analysis of the problems in completing full urbanization of the villagers will be useful as Beijing continues to go forward with urban-rural unification.

Timeline:

2005 Beijing city government identifies 171 “urban villages” at or near Olympics sites, or within the fourth ring, that must be renovated within three years.

2008-12 Beijing Municipal Party Committee starts the urban-rural integration experiment 

2009 the experiment begins as a pilot project transforming two villages (Beiwu and Dawangjing)

2010 a synchronized drive to transform all 50 villages begins

2012 transformation of the villages is essentially completed, replacement housing construction is set, and occurs step-by-step.

Up Close:

Funds are strained: focal-point villages borrow money to reach the status of being able to qualify for loans

Among the fifty focal-point villages, the sixteen villages in Haidian and Fengtai districts are of the  “the utmost importance.” The Blue Book report on urbanization points out that to  transform these villages and relocate the residents cost 730 billion yuan. However, the sixteen villages did not have this much in assets. In order to get a bank loan for the necessary amount, they were required to put up 20 percent of the total. In order to fulfill this condition, the focal-point villages had to borrow money from other villages.

At present,  the villages have sunk into a funds bottleneck. As the report states, if the situation of the funds remains as severe as it has been up to now, in the future the system will break down completely. Not only will this influence construction already underway, but will have grave consequences for future development. 

The original plan called for using “three days money.” “Yesterday’s money” refers to putting the underlying value of the village land on the balance sheet, “tomorrow’s money” refers to taking the current market value of the same land to actually generate capital, and “today’s money”  refers to the amount the government is willing to invest into the capital fund at the present moment. In all three of these, the village land is assumed to be the principle source of capital.

But because of the new regulations on real estate enacted over the last several years, it has become more difficult to put village collective land on the market. Not being able to sell any land has left villages with no funds to withdraw. In the 11th and 12th months of last year the National Land Resources issued several notices forbidding local governments from selling off land to generate capital, and to protect “reserve land” [land set aside from development]. In the past, local governments have used land to raise money for social programs, now they are forbidden from doing so.

Keyword: Agricultural villagers “change professions”

With compensation money from relocating, and a suitable new home, the former villagers are unwilling to do strenuous work

 Taking Xibeiwang town as an example, the town government put together 100 jobs in Tangjialing and Tujingcun, but only twenty people accepted the available positions.  The town assembled a labor force of 272 people and gave them job training in seven types of jobs. While the villagers were in the process of moving into their new housing, the building maintenance company employed 110 of these people. However they soon quit, saying they didn’t like working so hard for so little money.

The Blue Book report states that it is quite common for the former villagers to quit on their own initiative, especially young people. The unemployment rate among this group is 20%. Even if the town offers vocational education for young people, there are very few responses.

Why do villagers who no longer have land give up on working? According to the report, the relocated villagers have gotten large compensation payments and good housing, if they rent out extra residential units they have received they will be comfortably-off. They hope to get a job that pays well but is not strenuous,  however, their technical abilities are not high. Their is a gap between their expectations and reality.

Keyword: Social security funds

According to Academy of Social Sciences scholar Ping Xiaoying, of the sixteen focal-point villages on Haidian and Fengtai, the majority have not yet put in place the organizational system to transition the agricultural villagers to an urban registry (hukou).  The main reason for the delay is that the social security safeguards for them (available to urban residents) have not yet been linked up to a funding source. For residents of the sixteen villages, the minimum amount necessary is 10 billion yuan.

Perhaps because there is a limit to how much value there is is in the village land,  it is unlikely that the cash to be raised from the available land can cover that amount. Even if the funds needed were factored into the development cost from the beginning, because of fluctuations in the real estate market there is no way to accurately project how much can be raised from land sales in the future. At present the funds available are enough to cover demolition, relocation, and the construction of replacement housing only.  “Whether the additional costs to transition villagers to an urban registry (including an expanded social security package for every individual) can be raised, will depend on the determination of those involved.”

Dialogue with Ma Xiaoying, Academy of Social Sciences Fellow, from 2012 to 2013 conducted research on construction of replacement housing for focal-point villages in Haidian and Fengtai.

Xinjing news: how do you evaluate the 50 focal point villages transformation project?

Ma: This project will allow the former villagers to be urban residents with jobs, savings, and better social security. The improved environment, coupled with a more efficient use of land,  will spur on more development.  In Haidian and Fengtai, except for certain areas of collective land, the process of demolition and relocation in replacement housing has been completed. But the follow-up job of developing village collective land [since it is illegal to sell it to raise money], of changing villagers to urban residents, of  changing villagers from agriculture to employment in an urban setting, of changing the former villages from a village administrative structure to an urban administrative management system –these tasks still face many difficulties, and progress is slow.

      Xinjing: What are the main problems? 

As the example of the nation-wide “city-creating campaign” demonstrates, using land as collateral to raise funds,  and using government debt to support the urbanization of villages, is an approach full of hazards. Since the focal-point village project depends on raising funds through village land, it will run into difficulties.

What should the next step be?

The reason why the follow-up development is difficult to continue, may be because there is a flaw in the higher levels of the plan, and a lack of readjustments in the practice. It is urgent to recalibrate the plan, the follow-up cannot be allowed to stall.  We need a completely new approach.

This involves finding more efficient ways to utilize village collective land, opening new channels of communication to make obtaining bank loans easier, and prioritizing ways for former villagers to complete the transition to urban residents, obtaining social insurance benefits and being intergrated into a new social management structure created for them.   

     One case

 Xiju village in Fengtai district, Lugouqiao town, is one of the fifty focal point villages.  Yesterday, a Xiju village leading cadre said,  by the end of the year all the villagers will move into replacement housing, which has already been completed. At the same time, they are putting together a system to transfer each villager household to becoming urban residents.

The replacement housing is in the west third ring, near the Number 10 subway line Xiju station.  The fourteen multi-story residential complexes are finished, and the residents have already gotten their keys. According to the cadre, “At present the new residents are making any necessary alterations to their new homes. The occupancy rate is 90%.”

Once the villagers move into their new residences, the majority will have extra units which they will not be using. In order to avoid the phenomenon of mass renting, and to avoid any problems which may arise from individuals acting as landlords, the villagers have voluntarily agreed to turn their extra units over to a rental association in a five year lease, and allow the association to act as their agents in renting out the properties they are not living in.

Xiju village is trying to find a plan to solve the problem of a lack of sufficient funds to transition the villagers to urban residents.

全国范围的“造城运动” nation-wide “city-creating campaign” 

群租现象 group renting phenomenon

konjaku: further details on “group renting”

Renting out units in replacement housing –can a system of wholesale renting work?

a2cac7e9-ee57-4840-856d-e7714cfd846f.jpg

2013-12-31

Source Beijing Evening Paper

When it comes to replacement housing, many people have the impression of a poor living environment, of “group rentals” [to make more money, residences are remodeled with partitions to split then into smaller rental units, resulting in more people living in less space, a phenomenon of overdensity]. How can we restrict the occurence of this group renting, and keep the residential units owned by the villagers from gradually losing value?

In Fengtai district, we examine how the building management company is using new methods to marketize the properties owned by village collectives in replacement housing complexes.

Tomorrow is the first day of 2014, and Xiju villager Chen Cuiling said that in as the next year dawns,  not only will he be living in the brand new replacement housing, “Xiju Yuyuan,” but he will also be getting rent from a two units being rented by the company for him.  “ I don’t have to fix it up, I do not have to look for tenants, but every month the rent of 2800 yuan will be entered into my account.” Sixty year old Chen Cuiling  feels that for him good times are ahead.

In 2010, when Xiju village was listed as one of the 50 focal-point villages, Chen Cuiling, like many other villagers, was making a living from the “tile economy” [renting out rooms in his homestead]. His family consisted of three people, and he had built three stories on top of his house, which allowed him to have more than twenty tenants. However the tenants frequently fought with each other, and there were times when he couldn’t collect the rent.

“I will be getting 2800 yuan per month, and I don’t have to spend anything on fixing up the units or purchasing furniture and appliances. If for five years the rent amount stays the same, and having tenants is guaranteed, that will save me many worries,” Chen Cuiling told this reporter.

“394 units have all been rented out,” said Xiju village head Peng Jun said, relieved. 394 is the total number of units that the villagers have for wholesale rental.

As for who manages these rentals, Xiju village has created a Xiju Yuyuan Management Corporation, equivalent to the type of management corporation that exists for market-priced housing. This corporation handles all the details.  They follow a standardized procedure: register the tenants, get a signed contract, and share their data with the local police sub-station.

Peng Jun said, “After five years, we want our rentals to continue to be rented at the same amount as comparable units in the surrounding area, and not drop in value.If we start at 2500 yuan per month, which we calculate based on other rentals in the district, we want to maintain that rate five years later. Frankly, if we suffer losses it is the village collective that suffers, and if we make profits, we can return those to the villagers.”

Peng Jun said they have selected this rental management strategy because they want to avoid the phenomenon of “group rentals.” When we checked the brand new residences, there were six that the owners had already privately partitioned. We tore those out.” Peng Jun said if they did not directly intervene in management of the rentals, intermediaries would enter in and develop a pattern of going against regulations, that would become very difficult to control.

Just down the road from Xiju Yuyuan is Xiju Xinyuan, a complex of replacement housing built in 2001.Due to illegal renting practices, Xiju Xinguan is being overhauled. After ten years, these units have passed through many hands, the situation of who lives there is complicated.  Earlier it was discovered that 69 units had become group rentals, at present it is down to 27. “The group rentals are mostly operated by intermediaries, some separate a two-bedroom apartment into six units, the balconies are also partitioned and people live in them. This leads to elevators being overused, hygiene problems, and public security issues.”  Peng Jun said that since they began to oversee these group rentals, public security cases have dropped 70 percent.

Example 1

Lugouqiao town, Dongguantou village resident Ma Lin has no problems going to work every day, since his residence and workplace are in the same neighborhood. He is a maintenance worker in an nearby residential complex Lizejingyuan. When a phone call comes in reporting a problem with the electricity or water service, Ma Lin springs into action.

Ma Lin is very happy with his situation. Because his family has two residences in the neighborhood, he gets 3600 yuan a month from the wholesale rental company, on top of the 3000 yuan he gets in wages. He takes care of his own building, so he is motivated to do a good job, and he makes a profit on top of that.

Example 2

Lize Jingyuan has more than 3000 residents, and 90 percent are relocated villagers from Dongguantou village. When Lize Jingyuan First Stage opened to residents, the village recommended the “wholesale rental plan.” They invested 30 million yuan to renovate 1000 units, and started a management company to supervise these units, some as rentals, some as full-service apartments. Since this company needed employees, villagers were appointed as staff members, settling the employment problem for former villagers.

Dongguantou village party secretary Guan Hui said, the full-service apartments are 80 percent full,  and as for the rentals, the rental amounts they are getting are far higher than ordinary. A one-bedroom can go for as much as 7000 yuan a month. This is the main source of current profits. “Periodically we issue a report on the wholesale rental situation to all the residents, because losses and gains are shared by the village collective.”

“About one third of the replacement housing is used as rentals.  What sort of people are living in these rentals, has a big effect on the living environment,” said Guan Hui. The nearby Lize  Financial Business District provides 150,000 high-end job opportunities. Guan Hui said, “if we let things slide, and allow conditions at Lizejingyuan to deteriorate,  the type of high-end people who work in the Business District will abandon us, and instead of becoming part of a wholly urban area, we will be stuck in the rural-urban transition state. Once our monthly rental amount goes down 2000 yuan, we villagers will start to lose money.”

A low-end environment cannot attract high-end money.  One kilometer away from Lizejingyuan  is Xiju Xinyuan (discussed above), and although it is in the vicinity of the Third Ring, and not far from the subway, because of its group rentals problem, its rental income is one-third less than other similar residential complexes in the area.

Lize  Financial Business District

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Reporters: Sun Ying, Liu Pingshe

Xiju Yuyuan 西局玉园

Xiju Xinyuan 西局欣园

group rentals 群租房

wholesale rentals 趸租 

Lugouqiao town 卢沟桥乡

 Dongguantou village 东管头村

Lize Jingyuan丽泽景园

Lize  Financial Business District 丽泽金融商务区

konjaku: this is a view of possible problems that may arise in replacement housing built for villagers, especially in the larger residential complexes, when things can slip out of the control of the village committee. Villagers used to rent rooms to migrant workers in their village homestead, now, in a residential high-rise, they are supposed to still be landlords, but now renting to high-tech workers. The village leaders seem to have to prevent them from falling back into their old pattern, and renting to migrant workers again, by partitioning their spare apartments or allowing this to be done by “intermediaries.”

2010

A Loan from the Beijing Branch of the China Construction Bank helps Xiju smash through its  perennial “pattern”

2010-11-04

http://www.adbc.com.cn/n5/n18/c8217/content.html

Among the 50 focal-point villages, Xiju village is a truly tough nut to crack. There are a great many villagers, many more members of the floating population, many illegal buildings, and many hidden menaces to public security and the overall environment. All of Beijing society is following this with a great deal of interest, watching a new era of urban village transformation unfold, with the support of a bank and the utmost efforts of the political sphere.

The Fengtai government had already devoted a large amount of manpower and material resources to get 600 village households to sign contracts and it raised money to pay for a portion of the the demolition and relocation. However, it was short of the total amount needed. The villagers who signed contracts have been anxiously waiting for the process to begin.

At the moment of truth, the Beijing Branch of the China Construction Bank stepped in. This bank, whose main function has been to provide low interest loans for state projects, has since 2006 been in the vanguard of providing financial support for the development of the rural areas in and around Beijing city.  (details omitted). Relying on the “imperial sword” of the head office of the China Construction Bank, , the Beijing Branch, together with the Fengtai local government, with urgency, courage and vision, is setting out to crack open the hard nut.

Despite the well-known difficulties, the Beijing City Branch Bank is taking responsibility to provide financing for the project by itself.

2010-09, the  bank succeeded in arranging a loan for 3.4 billion yuan, which ensured that the 600 families could begin to relocate, and that the rest of the Xiju village transformation could go smoothly. Despite the hardships on the road ahead, the bank will continue to advance forward calmly.

konjaku: Excerpts from a long article on Xiju village. It states that the government began to transform Xiju village as early as 2000, when it co-opted it to be part of a green zone project on the city margins. From 2000 to 2009, the village farmland was turned over to the project, but the villagers were not relocated due to a lack of funding.

https://www.zaobao.com.sg/wencui/politic/story20120206-172853

Villagers: “If we wanted to plant crops we had no land, if we wanted a job there were no businesses hiring, if we wanted social security or unemployment insurance there was no share for us.” It all came down to a lack of capital.

For Xiju and the other villages designated to be part of the green zone, they first needed to raise capital to demolish and relocate. They contracted with developers to build commercial housing which they could sell on the market, but the profits were only enough for demolition expenses and rents for villagers who needed someplace to live while replacement housing was being built.  It wasn’t enough to cover construction of replacement housing. Therefore the process stalled.

In 2003, the prospects for village transformation were dismal. The land zoned for commercial and agricultural use was all co-opted into the green zone, and on the small amount of remaining  village homestead land, the villagers without exception made their living in the “tile economy” –renting rooms in their homestead to tenants. There were 6000 registered permanent residents, and 50,000 migrants who had checked in with the village authorities, but the actual number of migrants living in Xiju probably exceeded 80,000.

“The villagers added stories to their houses –the higher they built, the more they made.” Peng Jun said there was one villagers who actually built his house up to seven stories, and made 60,000 yuan a year in rents. When a village cadre went to remonstrate with him for the illegal additions, the villager said, without mincing words, “Go ahead and build my replacement housing then.” At that time the village collective didn’t have the money to hire a work crew to clear the ground for the foundation of the new residential complex for villagers.

————–

konjaku: in 2009, Xiju village was listed as one of the 50 focal-point villages. This became a new impetus to find the means to demolish the village and build replacement housing for the villagers.

—————

Ten years ago, the city government put forward the concept of the green zone, but did not follow through. To erase this “scar,” there must be a huge expenditure to cover the net costs, including those costs not yet fully known.

According to city government data, to build replacement housing for the villagers in all the fifty focal-point villages  involves a total area of 29 million square meters,  with 15 million square meters of constructed housing. There must be a  new system put in place to provide various types of social insurance for 130,000 people.

Although responsibility is delegated to the district government offices, Beijing city keeps a tight rein on the process. As a Fengtai official revealed, the district is not allowed to make any profit by completing the transformation project under budget, and they must pay all expenses in cash.

While the net costs of transforming a village are large, if the real estate market cools off during the process, expenses for the district government become even larger [they raise less capital when they auction off land to developers to pay for expenses].

The Fengtai Party District Committee Secretary Li Chaogang stressed that they will make the replacement housing a priority. “There is no need to worry about the quality of the construction. The  living environment will be pleasant and the surroundings orderly. The villagers will be fully satisfied.”

The plan for the replacement housing for Xiju village has been already set. In the first stage they will build 1596 residences, and in the second stage 1687. It will be a high-rise residential complex. The buildings will be 27 stories above, three stories below ground. “Previously, replacement housing was 8 units per floor and north-south (shade) facing. We have secured funding for 4 units per floor (larger units) and oriented south-north (sun) facing. This went  to vote and all the villagers voted for what would satisfy them the most.”

At the neat and orderly construction site,  a reporter remarked, the spacing between buildings is very generous. It is like an expensive residential complex in the most prosperous areas of China along the coast.

Another thing which they have learned from experience, is to not put any small shops and businesses on the first floor of the buildings. These in the past have not been profitable, and have had a less than positive effect on the living environment. Instead a free-standing service center will be built three or four hundred meters away, which will also be a commercial center. A Fengtai official said, this follows the new model of  “all community services within a five minute’s walk.”

At the end of 2010, 700 villagers had signed contracts to relocate. The reason that the demolition and relocation was starting up without a hitch was because the Beijing Branch of the China Agricultural Development Bank had supplied Xiju village with a loan of 3.4 billion yuan.

With the loan in place, this was a key moment. The Beijing government specified a timetable of one year to demolish, two years to build, and by the third year to be done.

But, as with other urban villages, a number of villagers who had made their living in the tile economy were not ready to give up their old homes so easily. When emotions were running high, they sealed off the village entrance to prevent project personnel from coming inside to survey the village.  Peng Jun [village committee chairman] said that they considered the villagers easy to handle. They would listen to reason and move out. The problem was with another large unit which was renting, leasing, or running factories or other businesses on village land. Although it was village collective land in which ownership could not be transferred, some had long-running leases which were not much different from buying the land outright. These needed to be compensated for the rent they paid, but after that they still needed to find an equally convenient location to move their business to.

This “large unit” refused to move, which meant the process stalled, the villagers’ replacement housing was not being built, and time went by.  Peng Jun estimated that just to compensate all those commercial renters would take up all the project budget.

After ten years, the government had gradually built up the budget to start. The value of the village land had gone up  [more capital could be raised]. The conditions were ripe –now was the time for the transformation of Xiju village to get underway. If this was going to end well, it was going to take a lot of determination and effort. 

konjaku: finally, we see a glimpse of the stage of resistance to demolition.

(2010)

 The shady plot behind the Xiju village committee uncivilized demolition strategy

http://blog.tianya.cn/post-3476494-30349702-1.shtml

To accelerate  construction and development in Beijing, the urban villages in Fengtai district are being demolished and relocated. The Beijing city government has a magnificent large-scale plan it is putting into effect. The State Council and associated ministries have over and over again prohibited those homes to be demolished from being the target of one-sided, despotic actions and forced demolitions using violence. Those households who protect themselves from this violence are exercising their legitimate rights. On 05-15 of this year the State Council issued another urgent notice saying that in demolition operations the legitimate rights and interests of households must be preserved, repeating that “ it is essential to go rigorously by the law,  to demolish and relocate according to the established standards, to fully respect the rights of those people subject to demolition.” Even so, it is amazing that in this important project the Xiju village committee are only feigning compliance with these standards, causing the complaints of the local merchants and villagers to sound out in the streets. One merchant told this reporter, “the village committee did not negotiate with us at all, but immediately cut off our water and power, causing us to face bankruptcy.” On 2010 -07-09 this reporter went to the village committee headquarters, and asked committee head Zhao Jia why the committee was taking this aggressive course. He replied, “We do not discuss internal village matters with anyone from outside the village.” Mr Zhao then took us to the luxurious office of the village head Peng Jun. In response to our question, Mr Peng replied, “I had no idea the power had been cut off anywhere. ” He said we should take up this matter with the township government or some higher authority. We then showed him photos and a videotape of the area of the village which had lost power, to which he replied, “ About that, I have no comment.”

This reporter wonders why, in this era of “together building a harmonious and civilized society,” the Xiju village committee dares to ignore the admonitions of the Council of State and other higher levels of government. Just as they did before, when it comes to demolition and relocation, they go against the tide and force their own way in one-sided arrangements, taking extreme measures like cutting off water and electricity. The village committee is going against the instructions and the spirit of the central government, but shouldn’t the committee remember that it is also part of the Chinese Communist Party? Is there- or is there not — a connection between the village committee and the developer? And are there other unknown secrets?

Villages # 16 and #17 Liulangzhuang and Tangjialing

Villages #16 and #17 are Liulangzhuang and Tangjialing. These villages received attention from the media as places where recent college graduates in search of tech jobs (the “ant tribe”) came to rent rooms, because of their proximity to Beijing’s silicon valley Zhongguancun. Instead of being part of the story of migrant workers coming to the capital to perform unskilled labor, these two villages were instead part of analysis about the ever-rising housing market in Beijing, and what the future looked like for the brightest of China’s youth as they entered the job market. Nevertheless, when these villages were demolished, it was the original residents, the peasants, who had the most to lose.

Liulangzhuang 六郎庄村

Haidian district, Wanliu area 海淀区万柳地区

photo: http://mapio.net/s/74785851/

42118550.jpg

I previously covered Liulangzhuang in a series of posts September–December 2013.

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/liulangzhuang-2009-2013-notes/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/liulangzhuang-forcible-demolition-notice-2012-01-06/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/liulangzhuang-as-part-of-the-three-mountains-five-gardens-plan/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/a-bright-future-in-the-liulangzhuang-new-village/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/liulangzhuang-voices-1/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/liulangzhuang-voices-2/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/liulangzhuang-space-needed-for-development/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/liulangzhuang-voices-4-do-not-believe-the-hired-thugs/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/liulangzhuang-2013-11-01-moving-day/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/liulangzhuang-new-village-opening-ceremony/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/liulangzhuang-if-a-golf-course-is-built-luxury-villas-will-follow/

Tangjialing 唐家岭村

Haidian district,Xibeiwang town 海淀区西北旺镇

photo:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-06/02/content_9919814.htm

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photo (waiting for the bus in the morning):

http://blog.onlycollege.com.cn/batch.download.php?aid=15453

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I previously covered Tangjialing in a series of posts in March and April 2013.

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/tangjialing-reborn/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/tangjialing-the-compensation-amount-kept-changing/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/tangjialing-ready-to-line-up-all-night/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/tangjialing-ripple-effects/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/two-images-of-tangjialing/

https://konjaku.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/tangjialing-voices/

Village #15 Mentou

konjaku:

Village#15 is Mentou village (shequ), Shijiqing township, Haidian district

门头村社区
海淀区四季青镇

I could not find any article laying out the relocation and compensation plan for Mentou village. That in itself might indicate there were irregularities. From the beginning,  there was resistance from some villagers. In 2009 one villager, Yang Jun, set himself on fire to try to prevent the demolition of his house. Villagers who refused to sign contracts were subjected to violence in 2011 and 2013, which seems to indicate that resistance was deep enough to delay the process by several years. One clue to the dispute is the following: “The location… is part of area designated to be turned into a green zone by the township government. However the township government and the Mentou village committee have secretly colluded to sell the land to a developer, to build commercial housing. Many villagers are resentful of both the government and the developer, and have refused to sign contracts or negotiate compensation with the developer.”  In addition, the developer and the village committee were perhaps in collusion with each other to extract profits from what had originally been village collective land. Mentou village may be a case in which the Beijing city concept, to expand the green zone and give generous compensation to the villagers, is altered by the township and other local entities for their own interests. The Beijing city government would prefer that incidents of self-incineration did not happen. But the local governments may be more relentless in pursuing their own financial motives. This conflict can be seen in the way a villager supports the city-wide urban transformation but pleads for “equitable compensation” from the township, and in the way the local police sub-station and the Beijing City Corruption Squad struggle over jurisdiction in the Yang Jun case.

The following article is mainly about the construction workers building the replacement housing on the village site after demolition, therefore I have only translated the introductory paragraphs.

A record of the demolition of Mentou village

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/micro-reading/interface_toutiao/2014-10-22/12569497.html?tt_group_id=3610189784&tt_from=weixin_moments&iid=2369007306&app=news_article&from=timeline&isappinstalled=0

The demolition and relocation of residents of Mentou village, an ordinary village in the western suburbs of Beijing, is just one minor event in the overall development of the city, a mere drop in the ocean. But starting in 2013-09, the reporter Yang Lang spent one year photographing and taking notes, to produce a sociological record of the transformation of the village. As we peer into the process of urbanization, we see an one fragmentary sample of how urbanization swallows up a formerly rural area…

Yang Lang, who happened to live close by in Xishan, used his cell phone to record the demolition of buildings in the village and the arrival of construction workers to built replacement housing. He documented the construction process all the way through, up to the village residents viewing the completed structures.  During this time, he spent a lot of time with the construction workers, sharing their joys and disappointments, carefully observing the social milieu that grew up on the periphery of the construction site. During the 2014 New Year’s holiday, he brought food and liquor to the workers that had to remain behind to guard the construction site, and they stayed up all night on New Year’s Eve. His cell phone photographs were presented in an exhibition, “Your Sweat,  Our Homes.”

Mentou village is in West Haidian.  In the 16th century “Streets and Alleys in the Capitol’s Five Districts”  the name “Mentou village” appears. “Since it is the gateway to Xishan[Western Hills], it is called the ”first gate.” [men, gate, tou, head, first].The name appears in Ming and Qing, [other citations omitted] and the name hasn’t changed in the People’s Republic.

To the north of Mentou is the Tuancheng Fortress, built in the Qianlong reign period (1736-1795) of the Ching, an important historical monument.. The troops who went on to defeat the Jinchuan minority in Sichuan trained here [1747-1749, 1771-1776]. In 1964, the renowned literary artist Lao She lived at no. 39 in Mentou while gathering source material, despite being of an advanced age. [Lao She, 1899-1966]. He wrote a poem praising Mentou as a place where “ the fountainhead of literature and art flows out.” 

konjaku: .Although some of Yang Lang photos are reproduced, I can’t find Yang Lang’s photo of “the village residents viewing the completed structures.”

photos: Mentor village with protest posters, the construction workers

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The following description of the Yang Jun incident is a section of a longer article in Caixin about activists who resisted forcible demolition.

http://wangcailiang.blog.caixin.com/archives/48419

2012-11-06

Yang Jun, a resident of Mentou village in Shijiqing town Haidian district, received three years in prison for injuring a police official while resisting the forcible demolition of his house. This year (2012), after being released from prison on 08-13, he met many times with the relevant government department to negotiate a compensation settlement. On 09-05 Yang Jun was attacked and beaten by unknown persons. Despite medical assistance, he died on 09-14. The Beijing city police have opened an investigation.

In order to prevent the developers from demolishing his home, on 2009-08 Yang Jun splashed gasoline in the direction of the  demolition personnel and ignited the fuel, burning himself and one judicial policeman. Soon afterwards, he was sentenced in court to a prison term of three years. His fiancee Li Rong at the same time received a sentence of 8 months. While the two were in prison. Yang Jun’s house was demolished.

Apparently the Jingxiang Weiye Development Company, which had the contract for demolishing Mentou and constructing the Mentou New Village, and which was involved in the demolition of Yang Jun’s home, is very closely linked to the Mentou village committee. The Mentou party branch secretary Liu Jixiang and the Menyou demolition director Ren Baowang both hold positions in the Jingxiang Weiye Company. 

When Yang Jun was released from prison on 08-13 at 10 o’clock at night, he had no home to go to. A policeman from the Xiangshan sub-station, Zheng Baoguo, arranged for him to stay at a hotel and baths establishment, called the Zhulian Hotel, in a room next to the baths. According to a village resident, the hotel was actually owned by the Mentou village committee. Yang Jun’s fiancee said that after they began to live at the hotel, the policeman Zheng Baoguo stayed in the room next to theirs, “he said it was for our safety.” These facts have been confirmed by the hotel.

Since Yang Jun and his fiancee were not in a condition to negotiate a compensation agreement while in prison, as soon as he got out, he began to rush about. An employee at the Zhulian Baths said that he frequently went to meetings with his body draped in the Chinese flag.

According to evidence provided by a Mentou villager, on 08-28 Yang Jun went to the Xiangshan neighborhood office to  meet police from the  Xiangshan sub-station, a Sijiqing town legal staff member, and Mentou village committee personnel, to negotiate a solution to the compensation problem. The first issue Yang Jun raised was the problem of his living situation after his release from prison. “At least give us a more standard place to live, the room next to the baths is very damp.” During the course of the meeting, Yang Jun became quite stirred up, and in the end no progress was made.

On 09-04, Yang Jun, once again draped in a Chinese flag, went to the Jingxiang Weiye company  office to carry out a protest. The member of the police in charge of protecting him, Zheng Baoguo, left before the meeting was over. A Mentou villager, Mr Jin, said the two sides parted on bad terms. “The company representative was impatient, and said it was time to teach Yang Jun a lesson [beat him up].”

On 09-05,  the policeman Zheng Baoguo went away from Yang Jun and his fiancee, saying “I am busy today.” That evening after dinner, Yang Jun was at the entrance of the Zhulian Hotel baths, when six unidentified men grabbed him and beat with clubs. Then he was taken to Jishuitan Hospital for treatment.

Yang Jun’s fiancee Li Rong said,  at 7:10 that night she and Yang Jun were taking a walk in the parking lot near the hotel baths. when suddenly men carrying iron clubs accosted them and began hitting Yang Jun on his legs. She said since she was focused on trying to help Yang Jun, so she doesn’t remember the faces or appearance of the men, beyond that there were six or seven of them. During the struggle, both Yang Jun’s legs were cut badly, and lots of blood was flowing, and Li Rong was injured on the calf of one leg. They were beaten for several minutes, until Yang Jun was no longer able to stand up.

Li Rong said a passerby saw what was happening and called for help, but the group threatened him, and he ran away. Li Rong said, “They were extremely ruthless, beating a man as though to cause him to be permanently handicapped.”

The hotel baths manager said he was on duty at the time, but he did not see what was going on outside. At about 7:30 Li Rong rushed in, dragging her bloody leg,  and shouted, “Yang Jun has been attacked,” and asked to borrow a phone. She called 110, and the manager called the Xiangshan police sub-station. The manager then went outside and found Yang Jun lying in the parking lot, both legs badly wounded.  Soon afterwards the police came with an ambulance, which took him to Jishuitan Hospital [a large hospital in central Beijing] .

After receiving treatment there,, on 09-06 he was transferred to the De’erkangni orthopedic hospital in the 4th ring. Li Rong was admitted to the same hospital for her injuries.

A Mentou villager Mr. Sui said, he received a phone call from Yang Jun when he was in the  Jishuitan Hospital,  to let people know about his injuries. He said that he was already better, but he was worried about what might happen next. Then, fifteen days later,  Mr Sui heard that his good friend Yang Jun had died on 09-14.  He immediately went to the hospital to find out what had happened,  but the hospital entrance was guarded by police who refused to let him in.

The  De’erkangni hospital director said, because the matter was a criminal case, the hospital needed to ask for instructions from the Haidian Public Security department before answering any questions. Up till yesterday evening, as this story was going to press, they had not yet answered.

The day before yesterday, this reporter went to visit De’erkangni hospital. On the second floor inpatient ward, there were two guards on duty, blocking off all the passageways. Only after making a request to public security, was I allowed to enter. I followed along behind a patient who was being wheeled to the lunch room, but my presence was soon discovered by an on-duty nurse. The nurse said if I wanted to visit Li Rong,  I needed to get consent from the police unit assigned to the hospital. After several minutes, a plain-clothes policeman hurried up and denied my request for a visit. He said he was from the Xiangshan sub-station. After Yang Jun had been assaulted and died, Li Rong had been under 24 hour guard, and no one was allowed to see her without the consent of the Haidian district police.

Li Rong made statements previous to this, that  after being transferred to the De’erkangni orthopedic hospital, that she was under constant police guard “for her own protection.” Even when she went to the bathroom, a police officer followed her. “I came to realize I was under house arrest. I was not allowed to go out, not allowed to make a telephone call.” If she wanted to contact a reporter, she had to do it secretly, hiding her action from the police.

Apparently the case was in the hands of the Xiangshan police sub-station, but the Haidian district station began an investigation into what happened. When Yang Jun died, the Beijing City Corruption Squad took over. 

When the Beijing City squad came to De’erkangni hospital to interview Li Rong,  even though they were from the city government, the Xiangshan police would not let them in until they had contacted their superiors. The Xianghan policemen then refused to let the officers from the city squad take Li Rong away for questioning. 

According to Li Rong’s previous statements, after Yang Jun was attacked she was always with him, together at the same hospital. Before he died, they chatted together everyday, and he seemed to be recovering normally.

On the morning of 09-13, the hospital states that Yang Jun underwent an operation to remove steel plate from his leg [see note below]. But at 8 in the evening, this operation was still going on. A little after 9, Yang Jun was brought back to his hospital room. Li Rong has stated, that at that time his face was pale, his lips were blue, and he had fallen into a coma. Several doctors rushed in to try and save him.  On 09-14 the hospital stated that Yang Jun had died because of a mishap during surgery, but it has not yet released the cause of death.

After Yang Jun was assaulted, the police investigated and eventually arrested several suspects. According to a Mentou villager, these included several employees of the Jingxiang Weiye Development Company, the Mentou village Secretary Liu Jitang and the Demolition Director Zuo Baowang. This villager said that after the Beijing City Corruption Squad entered the investigation, a friend of his in city government said they are investigating links between local officials, the real estate company,  and underground gangsters.

The Jingxiang Weiye Development Company and the Mentor village committee share the same office. When this reporter went there a woman staff member said she did not know about the assault of Yang Jun. She said Mentou village Secretary Liu Jitang and Demolition Director Zuo Baowang were both away on business trips and she did not know when they would return, and she did not have any phone numbers to contact them. 

Neither the Beijing City police or the Haidian public security office would make any comment, saying the case was still under investigation.

Note: if Yang Jun had steel plate put into his leg to fix broken bones, it is hard to imagine why there would be a need to remove the plate so soon after it was put in, unless something went wrong in the first operation.

konjaku: now we move to the incidents in 2011:

The developer’s broad ax demolishes Mentou village– an on-the-spot report!

2011-04-22

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_73cc4bd50100q1bv.html

Recently, in order to make us move away, the developer has used a series of illicit methods to harass us and obstruct our daily lives. In continuous attacks over just ten days, the despicable actions they have carried out are:

First attack: dig ditches and release water. On 03-23 the developer sent workers with excavators to dig ditches all around our houses. These ditches they flooded with water, putting our houses in danger. This action was illegal, not covered in the construction permit, an action whose purpose was only to harass the residents.

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Second attack: cut off water and electricity to residents.  On 03-24 employees of the developer used excavators to expose and damage the pipes of the village water supply. They also dug around the foundations of buildings to cut off the electricity. Once we discovered this activity we were able to stand in the way and to obstruct their progress, thus they could not completely carry out their purpose. Those who act illegally like gangsters will continue to be gangsters, and they have since then tried multiple times to succeed in cutting off our utilities.

Third attack: obstructing traffic. On 03-29 at about one in the morning, the developer had trucks unload the garbage from the construction site in front of houses, blocking up the roads. We had no choice to seek help from the police, and the city management department has already promised to move the garbage away (but up to now they have not done anything). These gangsters cause trouble for city management, for the garbage to be moved by one party and then transported again by another, must be to increase the GDP. We hope rather that the police will exhibit the spirit of duty in the service of the taxpayers, and swiftly bring to justice those who commit illegal acts. If not, it will be hard not to suspect them of collusion!

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The developers have already brandished their three-sided broad ax. Who will next appear on the scene. What will be the next act of this play? We can only wait and see.

We continue to wonder when City Management will carry out their promise and remove the garbage.  If they remove it in a timely manner, that will at least show they are not in collusion with the developer. 

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If the Haidian police cannot solve such a simple case and arrest the unlawful perpetrators,  they will lose face, big time.  Everyone says that Public Security is in cahoots with the developer. We will crack the case ourselves and let everyone see that they are in collusion.

The crime of destroying property

http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_016080460100rzx5.html

2011-04-14

In Haidian district Mentou village,  the  curtain on the next act of the play has opened. First there was the developer’s three-sided broadax–now it is a new method of attack — smashing cars.

Yesrerday night hoodlums came with the hatchets and stones, and smashed the windows of the Zhanjiang family car. They damaged the trunk and left an ax sitting on top of it as a calling card. The Zhanjiang family this morning reported the incident to the police, and requested that the police do their duty and safeguard the property of citizens.

The Zhanjiang house, slated for demolition, encounters a surprise attack in the middle of the night

http://www.msguancha.com/a/lanmu49/2013/0615/6917.html

2011-04-26, before dawn, Mentou village resident Zhanjiang was beaten by attackers. He says the developer is using underworld criminals to force residents to move out of their homes. 

Sometime after one at night, six or seven thugs suddenly appeared. They carried hatchets, steel rods, or other weapons. As soon as they arrived they struck at the windows of the house, and smashed the family car. When Zhanjiang went out to confront him they beat him severely, resulting in injuries to face, torso and legs. Before going outside Zhanjiang had called the police. They arrived after he had been attacked, and took him to the hospital, but did nothing more after that.

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The Zhanjiang house is slated to be demolished by the Jingxiang weiye real estate company,  whose legal representative is Yan Chunrong. The location on which the house sits is part of an area designated to be turned into a green zone by the township government. However the township government and the Mentou village committee have secretly colluded to sell the land to a developer, to build commercial housing. Many villagers are resentful to both the government and the developer, and have refused to sign contracts or negotiate compensation with the developer. This situation has led to violent incidents initiated by the developer, to which the government is turning a blind eye. 

konjaku:after this Zhanjiang became a candidate for a seat on the village committee. He issued the following statement.

Why are the village affairs not being made public? Is it possible there is something rotten they are trying to hide from view?

https://peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2011/03/201103222229.shtml

1. [Summary of legal status of village land from the 1958 People’s Commune on]. The Shijiqing township corporation has no authority to sell or transfer possession of the village land.

2. The Mentou village committee has colluded with the developer and the township government, to seize farmland, orchards, and forest land which the villagers depend on for their livelihood. They have submitted an application to the city to turn ten acres of this land into a park, but they are actually using another 400 acres to construct a golf course, the Beijing Xiangshan International Golf Club.

3. As the State Council has clearly stated: cultivated land is to be preserved, it is not permitted to construct residences or villas on it. The village committee and the Shijiqing township government have offered 750 acres of village farmland for sale, and they have built 300 villas with an asking prices of 100,000 yuan, the Xiangshan Qingqin Villas. Offering the land for sale was not discussed at a meeting of all the villagers, and the villagers did not get any proceeds from the sale. 

4. In 2005, sections of Mentou village were demolished and the residents relocated, in order to fulfill the city-level plan of creating a separate green zone. According to the plan, replacement housing would be built, and offered to the villagers at a reduced cost. The village committee and township government announced the price would be 1548 yuan per square meter, but when the buildings were completed, they hatched a swindle and raised the price to 3600 yuan, deceiving the villagers.

5. In this 2005 project, the villagers were supposed to get replacement residences calculated at 75 square meters per person, but they only received 50.

6. In the 2005 project, the replacement housing was built on land to which rights of use were obtained, but in the current replacement housing being built, the legal approvals and standard procedures have not been followed. The villas being built are illegal, non-conforming buildings.

7. The village committee has not followed the requirements of the construction department in providing, within 90 days after residents move in, the appropriate ratified certificates for land use,  rights of title, house and buildings operation manual,  and guarantee of service quality. This is a violation of real estate law.

8. Information on village undertakings has not been released to the public. Amount of money spent on food and drink, amount of money to purchase cars, amount of money spent on trips: the village committee should make all these figures public to avoid misunderstandings.

9 The village committee should follow legal stipulations in the management of village collective land. When this land is levied or occupied, rented out, or transferred,  they should convene a village assembly and solicit the villager’s opinions. Those so-called “village representatives” should not have the last word.

10. The village committee should set up an internet message board and a site for people to express their opinions. Village affairs should be made public through broadcasts, closed-circuit tv, and publications. After people are made aware of village matters, the village committee should make an effort to listen to the opinions of the many. They should be receptive to inquiries, and make an effort to provide complete answers.  The People’s Proctor should check and examine all financial expenditures. This will preserve the autonomy and rights of the villagers under the law.

https://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/2013/06/维权网-选举观察工作室简报(之十四)

“Rights protection” independent candidate Zhangjiang, from Haidian district Mentou village,  was being watched by police for the duration of the time period of “6-4”  [Tiananmen square anniversary]. His every move was being shadowed. When he went out, the police followed right next to him. This situation went on until 06-06. On 06-05 when  he went to vote in the village election as a candidate for the village committee, the police stayed right on him the whole time, making this an interesting tableau of Chinese democracy. 

Zhanjiang said the villagers were not very enthusiastic about the election. Many abstained from voting, many sent just one person from their household to vote for all of them. At the voting place,  election staff members supervised the choices of the voters,  often filling in their election ballot in their place, in order to vote for themselves [as candidates for the village committee].

photos: Mentor village replacement housing (1), the villas constructed for sale (2)

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konjaku: finally, there is this incident from 2013. The Jin family may have been one of the last hold-outs, since construction of replacement housing began in 2013-09. However, one source says demolition of the village was in 2014-02.

A victim of demolition, Jin Riliang,  while defending his house was arrested on the charge of “trying to pick a quarrel”

https://qiangzhichaiqian.wordpress.com/page/15/?app-download=ios

This incident began at around 8 o’clock in the morning on 09-07-2013 at Mentou village. A number of men arrived in front of the house of Jin driving a small excavator, and an altercation developed. From the previous four years there had been an ongoing dispute over whether the land was owned by the Jin family, or was a part of village collective land, and what amount of compensation the Jin family would be able to receive, and they had made multiple appeals to avoid the demolition.

Because of the dispute regarding demolition, the Jin family had tried to protect their house by surrounding it with iron mesh netting. Jin Riliang said that on the morning in question he suddenly heard an unusual noise and rushed outside. “ I saw several men dressed in black and wearing steel helmets. They had already cut apart the mesh and were entering our courtyard. Jin Riliang stated that there were at least fifty of these men, whom he had never seen before.

By 3 o’clock in the afternoon the wire mesh had been removed and a cordon of police were blocking off the area. The excavator was right in front of the Jin family house, its engine roaring. 

“There was nothing else I could do but run up to the attic of the house. The excavator’s arm was already aimed at the outer wall of our house. I warned them not to go further.” Jin Riliang then picked up pieces of roof tile and threw them at the excavator and at the men below.

Videotape taken by the Jin family confirms his story. The video shows pieces of roof tile raining down on the excavator’s glass windshield, then on the men in the courtyard, who protected themselves with metal screens.

Videotape taken by a villager shows that also present were several  plainclothes men who are members of the village committee, including the Mentou village party branch secretary.

konjaku: statement from a blog. I was unable to access this site directly.

Respected elders and fellow villagers: I believe that all of us support the transformation of old villages, and we support the Beijing city urbanization construction project. At the same time we strongly believe the process should be lawful, with the final plan determined by negotiation and subject to a vote by the villagers. The plan should give us villagers an equitable compensation amount. How is an equitable and lawful compensation to be arrived at? It should be according to the “Land Management Law of the People’s Republic of China” (1986, rev. 2004), under which our land is treated as collectively owned (by the villagers).

konjaku: the Land Management Law does require agreement by “two-thirds of the members of the village assembly.”

Within the duration of the contract for operation of land, any appropriate readjustment of the land between individual contractors shall be made with the agreement of at least two-thirds of the members of the villagers assembly or of the representatives of villagers and the matter shall be submitted to the township (town) people’s government and the agriculture administration department of the people’s government at the county level for approval.

Land owned by peasant collectives shall be operated under a contract by units or individuals that do not belong to the economic organizations of the said collectives, with the agreement of at least two-thirds of the members of the villagers assembly or of the representatives of villagers, and the matter shall be submitted to the township (town) people’s government for approval.

http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/Law/2007-12/12/content_1383939.htm

Danke Apartments: an alternative for college graduates

konjaku: urban villages function as entry-points for people flooding into Beijing. Villagers for whom farming is no longer viable put up illegal buildings, and make a good income renting cheap rooms. When villages are demolished as part of the urban-rural unification plan undertaken by Beijing city, the need for cheap rentals does not disappear. As we saw in Xiaojiahe, a mix of ex-villagers, squatters, and entrepreneurs continue to put up illegal buildings wherever they can in the surrounding area, and college graduates will rent a small bare room in a simple building put up in a vegetable field, as long as it provides the bare essentials for living and there is mass transportation to reach their place of employment. The landscape of this next phase of the urban village, a quasi-village without any history or boundaries, is a place in which “the road is only wide enough for one car to pass at a time, and on both sides between the low-lying houses, narrow alleys like capillaries wind off into the distance.” If the local town government is unwilling or unable to allocate money to destroying the illegal buildings on land which is not part of some grander development plan, an improvised urban fabric continues to exist.

The replacement housing for Xiaojiahe villagers is a nice new residential complex, built conveniently over the new Nongdananlu subway station, called Xiaojiahe New Village. It also includes some buildings managed by Danke Apartments (dànké, “eggshell). “If you are a 2017 college graduate, you can participate in the Danke Apartments Starling Plan and get 1000 yuan in credits.”

Danke Apartments may represent an attempt by the market to offer an alternative in affordable housing that will lessen the demand filled by urban villages or unmanaged spaces — but only for college graduates and white-collar workers.Their promotional blurbs, in which the word “white-collar” appears frequently, make it clear who may apply. Danke Apartments does not own property, but it finds apartment buildings it can furnish, maintain, and rent — to college graduates and white-collar clients. The rental market in China is unstable, with distrust on both sides. Property owners do not trust tenants, therefore they demand at least three months rent in advance. Tenants worry about false advertising, slippery contracts, and being saddled with debt. The challenge for Danke Apartments and companies like it is to rationalize the housing market. They offer a “one month deposit, one month’s rent in advance” contract (although there is a catch, as we will see) to encourage those who cannot scrape together the larger “traditional” advance. Also, they find roommates for tenants, allowing them to group single persons in larger apartments, and presumably that also helps people live in larger, nicer spaces for less money.

This is Danke apartments advertisement of its Starling Plan for 2017

http://www.dankegongyu.com/market/starling2017

The plan:
When you sign a contract for one year, after 6 months you can switch one time free of charge to another Danke apartment anywhere in the country
Refund of 1000 yuan: on every months rent, we put aside 125 yuan to you as credit, at the end of 8 months, the full amount is eligible to be returned ([1000 yuan, $159]. After one more month has passed, within three working days we give you the full amount. At that point the earned credit agreement is complete.

Eligible persons: any person who graduated from college in 2017 (full time students, from undergraduate or graduate course of studies)

This offer ends 2017-07-15.
For those who change apartments during the period of earned credits, including switching free of charge, the earned credit plan will be terminated.

The tenant must have a WeChat account that is tied to a bank account passbook number, otherwise it is illegal to return the credit as payment.

In applying for this offer, the applicant must present a genuine student card. If on re-examination this card is found to be a forgery, we will revoke the credit offer and nullify the free-switching offer.

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“You’d better rent a nice space to start practicing your Beijing accent.”

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“A good apartment in the Shanghai alleyways will up your “face value” [social status]”

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“During the day enjoy Hong Kong and Macao– at night, sleep in Danke apartments in Shenzhen”

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“A young woman from Chengdu: good things happen to good people.

After graduating, she lived with her boyfriend in a Danke apartment, and the starling plan really lessened their financial burden. Their room had a balcony on which they could practice yoga or chit-chat with other people, making their life in Beijing rich with possibilities.”

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“The first thing this very smart woman did after graduating from Peking University was to rent a Danke apartment.
A Danke apartment is perhaps not perfect in every way, but she says that for a recent graduate it is entirely appropriate, and she is satisfied with her apartment. She is pleased with the process of renting, the care and service she received as a potential customer. She is happy with the room’s lay-out and the ingenuity of the person who designed the room. She is gratified by the thoroughness of the cleaning ayi [cleaning women], and even more, she is glad to receive credits on her rent.”

konjaku: Danke Apartments offers a special status to those “very smart” millennials,who have graduated from a Beijing University. People who have moved to the capital from elsewhere might expect to be disparaged as outsiders, but here, since they are college graduates, they are the target of an ad campaign and given special treatment. As a graduate, it is good to be a young woman from Chengdu who lives with her boyfriend (Danke makes it possible for them to share the rent), is acquiring a Beijing accent, and does yoga on her balcony. She can benefit from the savings of 1000 yuan now, but in the future she may enter a prestigious field — high-tech or media –and rise far. The next promotional article makes it more explicit that Danke Apartments attracts the young highly-educated elite — one of whom will be your roommate.

konjaku: this article refers to the first year the starling plan was offered, 2016
http://www.sohu.com/a/86688372_419164

2016-06-28
Danke Apartments Starling Plan comes back for a surprise second attack!

2400 people has applied for the starling plan, from 2016 -05-25 up to now (06-28), and 1412 of their fellow students have gotten apartments. Danke apartments has shown a praiseworthy concern and a sense of social duty for these recent graduates and their urgent need for housing.
Starting 07-01 they will do a “second launch” of the plan, and respectfully invite all of this year’s graduates who have not yet found housing to apply.

In the first launch of the starling plan, Beijing college and university students were “favorably positioned,” and managed to snag 40 percent of the openings. Those with M.A. degrees or above got 25 percent of the slots. And among successful applicants, there was no shortage of students who had studied overseas. In other words, the cream of the crop. In former times a wise mother would pack up and move anywhere to put her child in the best environment for his or her education. Today, there is Danke Apartments. If you live there, your neighbors will be “scholar-tyrants” [superb students], associating with those of such excellent character, their best qualities will rub off on you.

The tenants who have flocked to Danke Apartments represent the highest level of those going into all the different professions: languages, design, economics, computer hardware and software, the media. Your roommate may be a future t.v. star, or perhaps an influential authority on the internet, or a “language emperor” who can speak seven languages, or one of those programmers who doesn’t speak much but earns a lot, or a trader who plots out a new algorithm strategy…at Danke you will have the opportunity to meet the heros of the future, who will help you on your way as your close friends!

At the second launch of the starling plan, on 07-01, there will be a raffle drawing for a big prize (which remains a secret). We invite all to participate!

konjaku: the following article explains Danke Apartments basic business model. They help you find a suitable apartment and roommate, and they clean, service, and repair the apartments they manage. One can look at apartments for rent at their site:

https://www.dankegongyu.com

A typical apartment has two bedrooms, a common living room, a well-appointed kitchen, and a bathroom with toilet, shower, and a washing machine for clothes. [Washing machines are smaller than the western models, and can fit in a bathroom].

Danke Apartments matches into Shanghai
2016-09-03

http://www.sohu.com/a/113488575_419164

 

Shanghai is a large metropolis, and international city. Every year thousands and thousands of people come to work –college graduates, all kinds of white collar workers. After getting a job, finding a place to rent is the next most important thing. However, renting is not an easy matter –there are many prospective tenants who come to grief, who may even get duped or cheated out of their money. Already regarded as one of the leading brand names in high-end white-collar apartments, in the 7th month [July] Danke Apartments formally opens into greater Shanghai. For white-collar workers looking for a place to rent, this will be an earth-shaking transformation.

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Danke Apartments already has fans in Beijing and Shenzhen. Starting in Beijing, it has established itself as a brand name of high-end products for white-collar workers looking for for a high-quality rental experience. Danke Apartments is not traditional type of rental agency, but an internet company, in asset-management, with no intermediaries. Relying on the “internet plus real estate properties plus financing” model, Danke Apartments received an A+ round of $14 million in its capital fund. Its apartments, beautifully furnished, stocked with brand name electric appliances, and accompanied by top grade service, have won the praise of its customers. In 2016 it was awarded the prize of all-China superlative internet product.

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Danke Apartments Shanghai office interior

Now, Danke Apartment fans in Shanghai will have the chance to live in a white-collar apartment that will enhance their “face value” [social status]. In recent years, young people have had a love/hate relationship with Shanghai –steadily rising rents has caused them “to retreat from difficulties” and move away, taking their hopes with them. In the Shanghai market for white-collar renters there is a mix of good and bad: some tenants face noisy environments that force them to terminate their leases, some in the name of sharing a lease have to deal with over-crowding. There is layer upon layer of hidden hazards due to lack of fire prevention measures and general oversight. These problems have a pervasive effect on the rental experiences of 3 million to 4 million renters in Shanghai, including white-collar workers. Danke Apartments has chosen this opportune moment to march into Shanghai and offer a reliable, first-class product paired with excellent service. It will usher in a new era in rentals for white collar workers, showing that high quality does not have to mean a high price tag.

Danke Apartments’ most cherished undertaking is its “one month deposit, one month’s rent in advance” plan. It overturns the huge burden of pressure that the traditional “one month deposit, three month’s rent in advance” provision imposes on prospective tenants, taking leave of that awful era in which renting an apartment “left the inside of your purse cleaner than your face.” The apartments are completely renovated. A special design team made up of architectural designers of the 80s generation have done everything in their power to create a warm living space that is simple, yet complex. The beautiful interiors in TV dramas you vainly dreamed about have actually become reality. We will help you select your lease-partner, and will strictly limit the number of people who can be in one apartment. These basic provisions will open up a high-quality life for you: a public and transparent process, no extra charges or surcharges, free maintenance and repair service, free WIFI. You can relax, knowing that with one phone call you can make an appointment for a professional serviceperson to come and fix whatever problem you have. The apartment will always be kept sparkling, the public spaces in the apartment [excluding bedrooms] will be cleaned every two weeks. If you need to change locations, sublet, or terminate the lease, we will take your needs into consideration and do our best to satisfy you. In order that a larger amount of white-collar renters can enjoy Danke Apartment advantages, we are offering various “Celebrate Shanghai” promotions: new clients can get, 200, 500, or 800 yuan off, and old customers can get a coupon for cash back if they introduce new clients — no limit on how many coupons you can get. To our beloved long-time customers: Can you pass this up?

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Our ad covering a bus

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a prospective customer

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The Danke Apartments Shanghai team

konjaku: here is a profile of a Danke Apartments service manager. This is not the whole article.

 

https://www.dankegongyu.com/zhuanti/story?storyID=1

Danke apartment manager Wang Huanlin: if you put in hard work, it will result in a good reputation

https://www.dankegongyu.com/zhuanti/story?storyID=1

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12:30, a half hour after midnight. Beijing, Changping district, in Tiantongyuan. A room in a Danke Apartments building suddenly lost heat due to a burst radiator, and needed urgent repairs. From his location 10 kilometers away Danke apartment manager Wang Huanlin immediately rode his bicycle to the building, and contacted the building supervisor to stop the water. By 3 A.M. they had managed to effect a solution.

Wang Huanlin applied to be transferred to building manager on his own initiative. Why? This young man with a sunny disposition started to laugh, “When I was a rental agent, I kept hearing from customers their opinions about how to maintain the buildings, and the difficulties they had coordinating the different tasks that were needed.”

Beijing in the 11th month: the temperature suddenly drops, the heating gets turned on, and it is difficult to avoid the problems of pipes leaking or bursting.

One night, a tenant’s electric touchscreen door lock lost power. The device took 9 volt batteries, but they were a special type. Wang Huanlin spent an hour going to five or six different hardware stores until he found the right batteries.
“Being the building manager is much busier than being a rental agent.” But Wang Huanlin had no regrets.

konjaku: the article goes on to say that since Wang Huanlin’s face appears on the site when a customer looks for a room, many people have recognized him when he responds to a call for service.

However, Danke Apartments cannot overcome the prevailing distrust in the rental market that easily.

Danke Apartments rent payment system hits a snag: it actually involves taking out a loan and paying it back by installments

Renters beware of the trap of internet loans

Source: Beijing Evening News
http://economy.china.com/consume/11173302/20170601/30621518_all.html

2017-06-01

In the season for college graduates to rent an apartment, if one sees slogans like “one month deposit, one month rent in advance” [instead of the standard: one month deposit, three months rent in advance], and “no middleman fees,” it all sounds pretty attractive, especially in Beijing, where it is not easy to find a good deal.

However, these attractive terms conceal fishy problems and risks, and it is possible to fall into a trap. A reader. Ms Liu, recently reported to this paper several problems she encountered when trying to rent. “The broker kept telling me it was ‘one month deposit, one month rent in advance.’ In a muddle I signed the contract, then right away I discovered that I had committed to the full amount for one year’s rent.” Ms Liu wanted to rent a room from Danke Apartments in Chaoyang district [Beijing], but only after she signed the contract did she find out she had committed to one year.

“As for the ‘one month deposit, one month rent in advance,’ this involved making a second contract with a finance company called Huifenqi on an internet platform, in which I would pay one month’s rent at a time to them. In other words, the internet company paid Danke Apartments a year’s rent on my behalf, and I was pledging to pay that amount back to Huifenqi, one month at a time.
One thing that disturbs me is that a Danke Apartments staff member told me, and the application form also states, that there is only one condition, which is clearly and unequivocally stated: the “one month deposit, one month rent in advance.” However, when I signed the contract, this somehow changed to “one year.” Another thing Ms Liu worries about, is whether the money she pays in monthly installments to Huifenqi, will really be credited to Danke Apartments. In the end, is there really a connection between Huifenqi and Danke Apartments? There is nothing written in the contract spelling out their relationship, so she wonders if they are really connected.

“It’s not clear who I’m renting from, and who I am paying. If I’m paying the rent to a third party, it seems fishy. The average consumer can’t tell what is true from what is a sham.” Afterwards, Ms Liu made a strong request to cancel the contract with Danke Apartments.

This reporter made an inquiry to an employee, who said “Danke Apartments” was the trademark for a product line of high-end apartments for white-collar workers, operating under the Ziwutong Property Management firm, based in Beijing. The company was founded in 2015-01, and is officially entered into the O2O rental property market. [O2O stands for “Online to offline.” It is a digital online platform that connects buyers with offline goods and services, comparable to Groupon, Uber, and OpenTable.] They are not in the traditional sense a property rental company, but instead an online platform that offers rental properties, which they also manage. Starting with eleven employees, they now have over 400, and have expanded from Beijing to Shenzhen and Shanghai.

As this reporter found out, Danke Apartments is not a centralized company, but rather one which makes agreements with landlords in dispersed places, to manage their properties as trustees. Danke Apartments does the actual renting, and for larger apartments, such as three bedroom apartments, it rents rooms in the apartment separately, and the individual tenant pays a portion of the rent [shares it with two other roommates].
In the “Terms and Conditions” section of the Danke Apartment website, it clearly states, “the method of payment is one month deposit, one month rent in advance. You will never again have to worry about digging into your pocket for up three months rent in advance.” There is no mention anywhere here of the installment plan as being paid through an internet platform.

In the Huifenqi application, it says the renter will pay to the Huifenqi platform instead of a landlord, and that the renter will pay back a portion of the loan each month as a month’s rent. This arrangement will ease the pressure on renters, it says. They can either pay by registering with Huifenqi, or by using their WeChat account number. But this service is not free. There is a charge of 4 percent at the quarter year mark, 5 percent at the half year, and 8 percent at the one year mark. If one does not pay before the monthly deadline, a penalty of 1 percent is assessed per day.

Actually, there are now many internet platforms now that offer the service of paying monthly rents, and these have broken the tradition of “one month deposit, three months rent in advance” or “one month deposit, six months rent in advance” which existed before. They advertise themselves as “rental properties plus financing plus internet company.” The traditional brick and mortar rental broker Woaiwojia [“I love my home”] now offers a long-term rental service through an internet platform called Fang siling [“Home Commander”]. In 2015, JD.com [one of China’s largest e-commerce companies] paired with Ziru Apartments to offer “Ziru Vouchers,” a service to pay for a year-long rental product. 58.com started a rental pay-by- monthly installments service called “58 monthly pay.”

These internal rental companies fall into two types. One type offers the user apartment listings based on whatever preferences the user inputs, and offers the “one month deposit, one month rent in advance” option. This includes Home Commander, Ziru Vouchers, and 58.com. The other type only offers the installment plan of paying monthly rent, but not housing resources, such as Huifenqi and Quzu. In other words, users find the apartment they want to rent by themselves, and once they have finalized the rental agreement with the landlord (amount of rent and payment method), they apply to the internet platform (such as Huifenqi) to borrow the amount. The internet platform pays the landlord, and they pay back the amount monthly to the site.
When renting through an internet platform, what if the internet company does not pay the landlord? It is possible that the landlord, who was perhaps not directly involved in the rental agreement, may still seek out the tenant and demand the money, or force the tenant to leave the apartment. The tenant would be exposed to the double risk of “no home, and no money.” How can one guard against being cheated?

Liu Shuaijun of the Beijing City Jingde Law Firm warns tenants that signing a rental contract and a loan contract means that you are signing two completely separate, unrelated contracts, and this mat be to your disadvantage in case there is any sort of dispute. He advises that whenever the tenant communicates with the renter, the tenant should take careful notes of the conversation or record it. These can become evidence in the event of a lawsuit.

Liu Shauijun said that in the afore-mentioned Ms Liu’s case, Danke Apartments and Huifenqi have a cooperative agreement, similar to that between a real estate developer and a bank, but there is a difference: Danke does not offer a guarantee in regards to the loan taken out by the prospective tenant. The renters are right to be worried if there is no mention in both contracts of the relationship of the one entity to the other.

Liu Shauijun recommends that tenants demand a contract signed by all three parties, stating clearly that Huifenqi will represent the tenant in making a one-time payment of in the amount of the year’s rent to Danke Apartments; that the tenant will thereafter pay back the loan as monthly payments to Huifenqi; that Danke Apartments will provide a written notice to the other two parties that it has received the full amount due, and henceforth the tenant will only owe the agreed upon amount to Huifenqi.

An industry insider said, “Right now it is pretty easy to set up an internet rent-paying site, and most of the platforms offer virtually the same services. These sites even maintain their capital fund through peer-to-peer networks of small lenders.”

iResearch reports that internet finance service is a growing field. Supported by national policy, it is occupying a larger space in the capital market. Internet financing is a especially convenient way to get and make loans. Conventional finance companies need several days to a week to vet a loan, but internet services using AI to comb through data can approve a loan in several hours, or even just several minutes, making the process that much easier for the consumer.

However, because paying rent through internet platforms is relatively new, and still in its first stages, there is inadequate oversight. Many areas are non-standard, one should exercise caution.

konjaku: one can see why Danke Apartments would want tenants to commit to a one year lease. At the same time, tenants may balk at committing to pay through an internet finance company, which is perhaps still a new and unfamiliar arrangement. In time, perhaps these difficulties with the contract process will be cleared up. In other desirable cities in the world in which rents are high, there are similar ventures trying to combine less expensive rents with more services. For instance, in San Francisco there is Starcity, although their focus is more on communal living (including shared kitchens and bathrooms), they also offer free WIFI, cleaning and maintenance in their package.

https://starcity.com/lifestyle

 

Huifenqi 会分期  https://www.huifenqi.com
Woaiwojia 我爱我家
House Commander 房司令  http://www.58fangdai.com
Danke Apartments 蛋壳公寓
JD.com 京东
Ziru vouchers 自如白条   http://www.ziroom.com/zhuanti/zrbaitiao/

 

 

 

Xiaojiahe shequ part 2: the “portable building village”

konjaku: replacement housing for the Xiaojiahe villagers who signed contracts and moved out:

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Built over the subway station, at Yuanmingyuan –the Xiaojiahe New Village

http://www.sohu.com/a/158298240_419164

2017-07-19

On summer days the lotus flowers are in full bloom, and the lotus flowers at Yuanmingyuang, situated between Zhongguancun and Shangdi, draws swarms of white-collar workers on holidays. To the north of Yuanmngyuang, Xiaojiahe was once classified as one of the sixty focal-point villages, but nowadays it appears to have come into bloom with a new face, as a high-end apartment complex aimed at white-collar workers, operating under the tradename of Danke Apartments, a quickly expanding internet property management firm with lots of capital.

The Nongdananlu (Agricultural University South Road) station on the new Number 16 subway line will open soon [it opened Dec 30, 2017]. There are now several ways to get to Zhongguancun and Shangdi, using the 4 and 16 lines, and transferring to buses –commuting is now extremely easy. From the Xiaojiahe New Village [Danke Apartment] complex, one can go directly into the underground subway station.

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The Xiaojiahe New Village [Danke Apartment] complex is next to the west side of the China Agricultural University, and around it is a mature, well-developed town district. Well-established restaurants serving hot pots and other specialities are lined up in great numbers. The Baiwang shopping center is the largest in the area. Supermarket, general merchandise, food and beverages, amusement facilities, everything is there.

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Along Nongdananlu Road on weekends for 2.5 kilometers, the street is closed to vehicle traffic for bicylists and pedestrians, to create a relaxed atmosphere. There is an abundance of scenic areas close by with Yuanmingyuan, Yiheyuan (the Summer Palace), and Baiwang Mountain [Baiwangshan forest park]. The Jingmi diversion canal is 1 km away, Shucun County park is 2 km. It is a very convenient place to live.

New subway, new town district, new homes, new life: in changing from its old existence to its new face, the Xiaojiahe New Village is for us undoubtedly a pleasant surprise. If you are a 2017 college graduate, you can participate in the Danke Apartments Starling Plan [I will cover Danke Apartments in a separate post] and get 1000 yuan in credits, which you can use to rent in a Danke apartment anywhere in the country (for details see their website). With so many great advantages, how can you hesitate?

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a typical Danke apartment (above)

konjaku:but will the former villagers get to enjoy all the amenities aimed at white-collar workers?

Danke Apartments gets capital investment, see:

https://www.chinamoneynetwork.com/2017/06/29/joy-capital-leads-14m-round-in-chinese-apartment-rental-firm-danke-apartment

Meanwhile, other parts of Xiaojiahe she are still being cleared out in 2017.

Xiaojiahe shequ will clean up 20,000 square meters of illegal buildings — the shequ’s greatest hidden danger

editor Liang Shuang, reporter Ye Xiaoyan, photos Wen Bing
source: Beijing Evening News

http://www.takefoto.cn/viewnews-1340259.html

2017-12-04/

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Starting this week, Haidian district Xiaojiahe shequ will be cleaned up. The population is severely inverted (more migrants than original residents), the environment is disordered and full of hidden dangers. Starting with sealed management over the area, the buildings will be demolished. A resident said, “Take a look at how we live. At long last it will take on the real appearance of a community.”

If one goes in a small gate with a small sign saying “Xiaojiahe village welcomes you” in the northeast corner from Xiaojiahe bridge, one enters into the Xiaojiahe shequ one-story house district. As with many such houses in the urban-rural intersecting zone, the road is only wide enough for one car to pass at a time, and on both sides between the low-lying houses, narrow alleys like capillaries wind off into the distance. This area is divided into three types: (1) homesteads with garden belonging to agricultural families, (2) historical compounds, and (3) illegal buildings. These illegal buildings were built on top of vegetable plots. The Party General Secretary Mu Zenggang is aware of the situation. “These vegetable fields once provided an important food supply for Haidian District. At that time I was head of the production brigade here. Starting in 2000, there was not enough water, and the villagers realized they could make money by renting out rooms instead, and one after another buildings sprang up.”

Mu Zenggang took this reporter through a full-scale rental complex. In this area there were some 2000 rooms for rent. It seemed like a small society of its own. “Every winter this area is a big headache for us –worrying about fires, carbon monoxide poisoning. ” He said that once villagers started renting rooms, they sub-contracted out the business, and now there are layers and layers of sub-contractors. “Now there are 12 big landlords and 23 small landlords. The landlords only collect the rent, and pay no attention to safety issues.”

Inside the rental complex there are many illegal buildings. One can vaguely discern the outline of the original form of the compound [imagine it without the illegal additions]. The large compound has been divided into several smaller ones. In a smaller compound, marked by an iron gate, there are twenty rooms about ten meters square. The outer walls are fitted with a wind scoop, because previously they had all been heated by coal stoves. This is one hidden danger (carbon monoxide poisoning). Another is that there are only two or three roads that pass entirely through the 20,000 square meter area, and they are narrow and winding. If there is a fire, the outcome is dreadful to contemplate.

Photo: example of a wind scoop, which provides ventilation when using a coal stove.

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This year (2017) 7th month, in conjunction with the project to “switch from coal to electricity” Malianwa district will start to reorder the area. They have already repaved the roads and created zones marked by yellow lines in which only electric vehicles and bicycles can park, not cars –which has brought smiles to people’s faces. This ensures that there will be space for ambulances and fire trucks to pass through. “Last month many tenants moved out. We had to deal with the mess left first. It seemed like the street was blocked up by items such as discarded cooking pots. In order to regulate parking, in the southeast corner of the shequ we have put in a parking lot that can handle as many as eighty cars. Also, we have eliminated the garbage cans that stood in one place which people could use at any time, and are guiding the residents to put out their trash on specified days and times for pick-up by our newly allocated garbage truck. We are increasing the number of times the garbage is picked up or cleaned and removed from the streets. Before, wastewater flowing out in the streets mixed with garbage, but this won’t happen anymore.”

Mu Zenggang said, “Now that we have dealt with the problems, Xiaojiahe can at last stop being labelled as a ‘ a focal-point area for public security problems and hidden dangers.’ My anxieties are mostly relieved.” After clearing up the illegal buildings, the area will put sealed management into place, installing security cameras and adding more patrols to look out for fires or other dangers. “Because of the complicated history of this area, levying the land for development has not yet been completed. During an interim period before re-development, the area will be sealed off. ”

konjaku: nevertheless, another area is mysteriously beyond government control.

Xiaojiahe portable building village — there are illegal buildings on close to 10,000 square meters, the government says it cannot afford to demolish them

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http://house.people.com.cn/n/2015/0525/c164220-27049127.html

reporter: Liu Fei

On the edge of construction sites, one can often see portable buildings, those with “white walls, blur roofs,” removed when the construction project is done. However there is one small district in Beijing where the construction project has been suspended, but the portable buildings have not been dismantled and removed. On the contrary, over several years the number has increased, with a number of such buildings on one parcel of land, numbered and organized, to form a unique urban village composed of these portable buildings. The local city management department says that these are clearly illegal buildings.

Photos: examples of portable buildings

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If these buildings are illegal, now did it come to be an urban village in which people live? How did this “portable village” develop?

The Beijing city statistics bureau published the results of a survey, indicating that more than half of Beijing’s migrant residents live outside the fifth ring. Xiaojiahe urban village, just outside the fifth ring, has a large concentration.

Seller: do you want to rent a room? We have some. Wait a minute –that man will tell you about it.

Landlord: I have rooms for 600 or 650, good for those with temporary jobs or selling. Electricity is 13 yuan a month, other utilities are free; pay that by the month. For the room, I like to have three month’s rent upfront, but you can pay one month at a time if you have to.

Reporter: And this room is in a portable building?

Landlord: It’s all portable buildings here. We live in them, we rent out rooms in them to migrants. This group of buildings, some are rented to people to live in, others are rented as warehouses, they have water and electricity, and you can add satellite tv if you want.

In the same parcel of land there are some unfinished cement buildings that stopped at one story, with the steel reinforcing bars for the second story exposed to the sky, swaying in the wind. These too are rented out as living spaces or warehouses.

Ms Li, a resident: These were originally a planned development of detached houses, but the upper stories and roofs were never built. There have been several bursts of activity in building simple and crude structures over the last several years. Because there are so many people living here in a small space, they have even dug basements and some are living underground. Sanitation is poor. Several years ago, a section was lost to fire.

Usually rooms in portable buildings are rented without furniture or other facilities, but tenants can get coal stoves in winter and air conditioners in the summer.

In this district of portable buildings, everywhere one sees some people pushing handcarts selling snacks, some dragging heavy carts selling goods, and some selling out of minibuses. At the south end of the area there is a garbage dump.

Resident: One night I woke up, and they were burning the garbage, the smell was really strong. That made me mad –afterwards I reported it to the police, but too much time had passed, it was too late.

Resident: I see all kinds of bad things that go in in these shacks. Within a small area you can find just about anything there is in the big city — like the black clinic.

Even though the illegal buildings come in many different forms, this place is like other urban villages: on the one hand cheap and convenient; on the other, full of hidden dangers from inadequacies in sanitation, public security, and fire prevention.

After the last several years Beijing has launched a strict initiative against illegal buildings. Residents in the area have discussed the problems of the portable building village with City Management, but in the end City Management Department Deputy-Director Wang Hongjun says they simply cannot demolish so many illegal buildings over so large an area.

Wang Hongjun said, “ Someone reports an illegal building, or we discover it ourselves, but when we search for it we find that a new buildings stands where we removed one before. As soon as we finished demolishing and move on, someone comes and puts up a new portable building on the same spot. One thing we can do is seal shut all of the underground rooms before the flood season. But as for the buildings above ground, we are unable to get rid of them, because the cost is too high.”

白墙蓝顶”的活动板房 white wall and blue-roofed portable buildings
板房村 “portable building village”

konjaku: the following article explains the origin of the portable building village

A thousand workers encircle the unfinished building project because of unpaid wages –they create a “demanding arrears portable building village”

http://news.sohu.com/20150606/n414533904.shtml

Source Jinghua Times
2015-06-06

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Close to one thousand workers have lived among the unfinished buildings at the construction site for the Yuanmingyuan Flower Garden Villas for eight years, since work on the project was suspended. In order to have a place to live, they have put up blue-roofed portable buildings around the site, connected to gas, electricity, even cable tv. Cheap rents in these buildings have attracted migrant workers and peddlers. Gradually the population has grown, until it has become a “portable building village” of 2000 people, a unique form of settlement within Beijing city.

The workers are unwilling to leave until the dispute over unpaid wages is resolved.A residential district official said that although the area is over-crowded and the buildings all illegal, if they dismantle buildings the workers simply put up new ones, putting the authorities in a predicament.

Beijing in the 6th month, the days have started to become hot and dry. A couple of old people hobble slowly along, frequently bending over to carefully examine some piece of scrap on the ground to see if it can be resold, and if so, slowly putting it in a burlap bag. At nightfall, these two stagger inside the enclosing wall that surrounds the rows of portable buildings, and disappear inside. In there is what they call their home.

Outside the 5th ring, near Xiaojiahe Bridge, there is a district of ten thousand square meters enclosed by a wall, with neat and orderly rows of portable buildings, and also with unfinished structures that are topped by a chaotic jumble of criss-crossing exposed steel reinforcing rods. This small area forms a marked contrast with the new high-rise residential complexes in the vicinity.

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Originally in this district there was a project to build 35 villas. Before the project was suspended, work had begun on the basements and first floor, with steel reinforcing bars to support the second floor.

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During the initial phase of construction, these two old men had been watchmen at the construction site. At that time they never thought they would be “watching over” the site eight years later. Passing inside the portable building village on a crooked and pot-holed road one comes to their “home, “ a ten square meter room with only the most basic furniture, and no electronic appliances. Sitting in the unendurably hot and muggy room the two recount the history of how they came to Beijing.

In 2007, the son of one of the old men had become the leader of a construction team. He brought 300 men from Anyang in Henan province, their hometown, in order to work on this construction project; they were all hoping they could come to Beijing and make some money. The workers themselves had to contribute money to the project. The old man estimated that each put in at least 30,000 yuan. To raise this money they borrowed from friends and relatives. Many put in as much as 1 million yuan. The old man’s daughter-in-law explained that because the son (her husband) was the construction team leader, they raised more than 3 million yuan from friends and relatives, and then came to Beijing, bringing their parents with them.

In addition there were two other constructions teams, in the same way each with a team leader, each with some 300 workers. Altogether 1000 workers came to the construction site, from Sichuan, Hebei, Henan and Northeast China. These three teams signed an agreement with the contractor, Tangxian Huacheng company, to together build the Yuanmingyuan Flower Garden Villas (Third Stage).

However, the project never progressed smoothly as the workers had expected. Beginning on 2007-10-28, the work was shut down several times, the last time being 2008-05-27, and has not resumed since. For eight years, the contractor and the supplier (of building materials) have not once paid the wages owed to the workers, and the workers have been steadily waiting both for the work to resume and to receive their money, while living at the building site.

According to a Malianwa residential district official, tha parent company, Yuanmingyuan Flower Garden Villas Company, was in arrears in payments to the contractor (Tangxian Huacheng company), which could not pay the workers or buy materials. Therefore work was suspended, but the workers refused to leave. “This portable village is something which didn’t just spring up in one night and a day.”

Both sides disagree as to why the work was suspended. The workers say that Yuanmingyuan Flower Garden Villas Company did not pay its bills starting 2008-06-13. The company says that they actuallty began postponing payments at a later date, and the reason was that the other side sub-contracted work out to unknown parties who themselves sub-contracted the work out to others. This led to a lack of trust, in which they could not be sure the terms of the original contract were being followed, and for that reason they suspended the work.

Both sides have another point of conflict: the disagree on how to calculate the amount of money owed. Ms Wu, representative of the worker’s side, said that cost of building supplies, unpaid wages to workers, and salaries to those who have been watching over the construction site for 96 months, amounts to 35 million yuan ($ 5.5 million).

The representative for the developer said, thirty five villas had been completed at a cost to the company of 26 million yuan, and they previously paid the workers 3 million yuan. In addition, they provided the steel reinforcing rods at a cost of about 8 million yuan, but only a small amount of them were actually used in the construction, and afterwards the workers sold off the rest. If one considers these expenses, they don’t owe the workers anything. The other side is just pulling this 30 million yuan figure out of thin air.
In another wrinkle, in 2010 one supplier, a cement company, sued both the developer and the workers for unpaid receipts. However, according to the standard Beijing contract, the developer pays 30 percent up front but the complete amount only after the completion of the building. Since no building had been completed, and the corresponding certificates of inspection on the quality of cement provided were lacking, the court ruled that it was premature to expect full payment, rejecting the suit.

For eight years, the workers have been living in the portable building village. On the one hand, they waited to settle their accounts, on the other, they looked for new ways to make a living.

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At dawn each day, the quiet portable building village becomes noisy and bustling, as residents prepare for the day’s work. Vender pushing food stalls head toward the market area, to serve simple breakfasts, or sell fruit and vegetables. Those who remain behind in the village are mostly the old and the young. Often the old people walk about with bags picking up scrap they can resell to supplement their household income, and the children follow behind and play around the trash heaps. “We are anxious to return home, but we cannot,” says the old father of the construction team leader. With tears in his eyes, he says, over and over, “We borrowed 3 million yuan.” Not to mention the interest on such a large sum. The old man cannot go back and face his relatives and friends, in eight years he has not once returned home.

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When work first stopped in 2008, there were two rows of perfectly good portable buildings set up outside the construction site. The workers first moved into these. After the district government demolished these buildings, they had nowhere else to go, but were unwilling to leave the area without collecting their money, therefore for a while they all began living inside the construction site. At night they stayed in the rooms below ground in the unfinished buildings.

After one year, because the underground rooms were cold, gloomy, and wet, many old people and children began to have health problems. Gradually people began to put up portable buildings on the site, moving to a life above ground. Throughout 2013 portable buildings continued to rise up, ringing the construction site, By the end of 2014 portable buildings had reached a peak of prosperity. But the cost to put up a one room portable building was 7000 yuan, and a few families who could not afford that continued to live underground.

The housing problem was solved for most, but then, how to make a living? Some women raised chickens next to their “homes,” others grew corn and vegetables. Some they consumed themselves, some they sold in the market. The men did odd jobs when available or ran small businesses. Many were like Mr Zhang, from Sichuan. He had borrowed 1 million yuan, therefore he felt he couldn’t go home without waiting for his unpaid wages. However, his mother back home had no one to look after her, so her brought her to Beijing. In order to live, his mother gathered waste scraps and grew vegetables.

As with Mr Zhang, more families began bringing their aged relatives to Beijing, and the population living in the portable buildings increased. According to the workers team leader, at present there are 2000 living in the buildings. 80 percent of those are workers waiting to be paid, and 20 percent are tenants.

Looking around, old and young people are walking about, laundry is hanging out to dry from windows. The walls of the buildings are plastered with rental signs, for rooms to rent to live in from 300 to 600 yuan, or to use as storerooms. If the tenant customer wants to rent a new building, the landlord offers to erect one within three days. Because the rental rates for portable buildings are so cheap, this attracts migrant workers, as well as small tradesmen and peddlers.

The residential district office estimates there are some 500 rooms going for rent in the portable building village, although there are a number that are unregistered. One landlord claims to have 30 rooms to rent in one building, and if one calculates 500 yuan per room for a month, that is a pretty good income (15,000 yuan, approximately $2400).

There are two entrances to the portable building village, which means there are many people passing freely in and out. Add this to the density of the population living inside, and things are chaotic. People drag carts of scrap to a waste products processing facility inside the village. Crude toilet facilities are set up in one location, and next to that is a hole dug in the ground for trash. This spot has an awful smell.

According to the authorities responsible for this district, the portable buildings are illegal. The Malianwa district office said these plots of land have been mortgaged out to different parties multiple times, and the situation was very complex. Besides the dispute between the workers and the developer, there are other legal disputes, such that it is impossible to say who exactly has property rights over the land.

The Malianwa district office spokesperson said that the head of the development corporation had been out of the country for a long period, and had left several subordinates to deal with this matter. These persons have been in regular touch with the district office, and they recognize that they are in arrears and owe unpaid wages to the workers. The problem is, each side has its own version of what the figure should be. The district office has made an attempt to mediate the dispute, but a person with responsibility to negotiate for the developer has failed to appear.

 

According to the Malianwa district office, “the reason why there are illegal buildings on such a scale, is that when we demolish them, they simply put up new ones, and despite repeated bans this cannot be stopped.” It costs money to demolish, and for illegal buildings inside the construction zone, this should be the responsibility of the developer, but “in the present situation, the developer is not putting out any money, and this is a real problem.”

Many times residents in the vicinity have complained to the authorities, that the environment in the portable village is degraded, or that they have seen fires break out. The authorities say that many times they have gone in and cleaned up the area, in 2012-08-10 they demolished 70 homes, in 2014-05-08 they demolished 24 homes. But each time after a month had passed the workers had put up new portable buildings on those sites, and even expanded the area in which these buildings were erected, therefore they were unable to finish the job of clearing up the area.

Why haven’t all the illegal buildings been torn down? The Malianwa district office says it simply cannot afford to do it. The area filled with illegal buildings is large, the number of buildings is great,. “ To demolish a few buildings is not a problem, but here the area in question is ten thousand square meters. It costs 100 yuan for every square meter. To get started, we would need to have five million yuan ($780,000). Since this area is an unfinished construction project, it is stipulated to be the developer’s responsibility to put up the capital to demolish.”

The Malianwa district office spokesperson said that waiting for unpaid wages does not justify making a living by renting out illegal buildings. City Management is at present clearing out those people that live in the underground spaces under unfinished buildings, and sealing up the entrances. If there is a heavy rain, water could flood into those spaces, in which people are using fire, gas, and electricity. This would be a danger to them and to public safety. These spaces also provide a place for travelling venders and others engaged in illegal food reprocessing (treating old or spoiled food products with chemicals and reselling).

On 05-25 the Malianwa district set up a command post and began removing people from the underground spaces. By 05-28, people and the goods were out, and the entrances were sealed up with brick fragments.

The spokesperson said that if in the future all the illegal buildings in the portable building village are removed, the workers will be provided with dormitories to stay in, in order that they can remain at the site until their dispute is resolved. “We must give these workers a place to live.”

For now, it is unknown how long this situation will continue.

text: Jinghua Times reporters Zheng Yujia Han Tianbo Chang Xin
photos: Zhao Siheng

konjaku: in the photo below, there are rows of portable buildings in the foreground, and an apartment building complex in the background. The sign on top of the buildings says “Yuanmingyuang Garden [Villas].” This is probably an earlier stage of the construction project,  a stage which was successfully completed.1-16111501152MF.JPG