57 officials punished for forced demolitions

Updated: 2011-09-25 20:33


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BEIJING - The Chinese government has punished a total of 57 officials for 11 forced demolitions that resulted in deaths of residents.

All the cases occurred after a new administrative regulation took effect which rules that local governments are forbidden to forcibly dismantle residential houses before a people's court rules that it can do so, according to a statement jointly issued by the Ministry of Supervision and other three government authorities on Sunday.

Among the 11 forced demolition cases, six were illegally conducted, and the other five were conducted in accordance with regulations but "violent means" were used in handling the situation, said the statement.

The statement also gave details of the forced demolition cases that resulted in the deaths of residents.

Liu Shuxiang, 48, a resident of Changchun city in northeast Jilin province was buried under debris and suffocated on March 26 after her run-down home was destroyed by hundreds of workers employed by a local real estate company which was a government contractor for resident's house renovating project.

Liu and her more than 180 neighbors in the run-down zone had not agreed to the removal and compensation deal.

The Supervision Ministry asked the mayor of Changchun to openly apologize to the residents and related officials were dismissed or given punishments by administrative and Party discipline agencies.

Land expropriation and demolition are of immediate concern to the people and affect the social stability, the statement said.

"Local government at all levels should strictly prohibit illegal forced demolitions and protect the legal interests of residents," it said.

The new regulation which aims at resolving disputes over land expropriation and house demolition was issued in January by China's State Council, or the Cabinet.

The regulation states that no violence or coercion could be employed to force the homeowners to leave. Nor could measures, such as illegally shutting down water and power supplies, be used in the relocation work.

Demolition could only be carried out after the court's verdict and approval if the government could not reach agreement about the expropriation or compensation with the homeowners, it said.