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Team leads demolition of illegal villas in Jinan

By ZHAO RUIXUE in Jinan | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-01-17 09:14

Jinan, capital of Shandong province, started pulling down illegally built villas in a mountainous area on Friday, a day after media reports exposed the problem.

On Friday and Saturday, more than 10 villas under construction at a village around 20 kilometers from downtown Jinan were demolished, with construction materials put in orderly piles along roads and sprinkler trucks spraying water to control dust, the National Business Daily reported on Sunday.

The Economic Information Newspaper reported on Thursday that thousands of villas had been built in mountainous areas of southern Jinan over the years, encroaching on conservation areas for the city's springs.

Jinan is well-known for the hundreds of springs that gush across the city, which has made their protection a top priority. The mountainous areas in the south of the city are important ecological and water conservation areas for Jinan and the main source of its groundwater.

The illegally built villas had encroached on the area, creating soil problems, destroying groundwater conservation areas and posing a threat to the springs, the newspaper reported.

Most of the villas were built between 2003 and 2015. Under the supervision of central environmental authorities, Jinan has been working to remove illegal villas since 2017. But after four years, only a few have been demolished, and thousands remain standing, with some new ones under construction, news reports said.

Notices and regulations on land management in China and the country's Property Law say farmers' houses in rural areas cannot be sold to people with household registration, or hukou, in urban areas. Meanwhile, urban residents are forbidden to occupy rural land to build houses. Government departments are not allowed to issue land use certificates or house property certificates for houses built and purchased illegally in rural areas.

Jinan set up a special team headed by Sun Licheng, the city's Party secretary, on Thursday to investigate illegal villas. The team, with six groups, including an investigation and rectification group and an environmental restoration group, started work on Friday.

The provincial government has also set up a team to promote investigation of the illegal villas. Shandong officials said the province will act resolutely to rectify problems, with investigation results to be made public in a timely manner.

"We will act quickly to achieve immediate results, and pull down illegal buildings as early and as quickly as possible," Sun said at a team meeting on Friday.

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