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Village # 18: Xiju village in Fengtai

October 5, 2018

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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20150705231258150705231258646477z4l4md9tsj6o.jpg

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?

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