Friday, March 23, 2007

Family Killed Officials and Refused to be Relocated

Ms. Wu Ping held an impromptu press conference next to her disputed property (left)

The house in question: the only one left on the construction site (right)

The episode of a Chongqing couple’s prolonged struggle of refusing to have their house demolished is not over yet, while a family in Jiangsu allegedly killed two people for the same kind of dispute: home demolishing and relocation.

On Thursday, Ma Xueming, a Suzhou resident, allegedly attacked and killed Zhang Jinlong, a manager of a relocation company, along with a female local community administrator, and injured another man from the company. The three people came to Ma's home to talk about compensation plan for demolishing his property and relocating his family due to a development project.

Mr. Ma were said to threw lime powder at the visitors and then stabbed them, witnesses told a local newspaper.

Police took away Mr. Ma, his wife and a teenager son right after the incident. The family was the only one yet to be relocated in the village, because they had not reached a compensation agreement with the real estate developer.

People who knew the family said they were quiet and honest people, and that it was “inconceivable” that they would take such “extreme actions,” local newspaper reported.

Upon reading the story, many web users point out that people in Suzhou are usually good-tempered. Now that even such nice people also start to violently resist relocation for real estate development is a signal that such practice has aroused huge public resent.

Most people don’t agree with the killing, but many express sympathy for the Ma family as well as their own hatred of government officials and relocation company personnel who often force people to move.

Many call the incident a tragedy, some compare Ma’s action with communist revolutionaries’ rebellion over half a century ago, and still some see the incident as yet another indicator of people’s fury against the government, who, as put in one comment, “has become the accomplice of real estate developers for the red and green paper [money bills].”

“The volcano is about to explode,” one posted a comment as saying.

“If real estate developers and local governments still don’t rein in on the brink of the precipice, more similar incidents will continue to occur around the country…and constantly undermine harmonious society,” another one writes.

“This is a typical case of [the result] of power overshadowing law. Grass-root people have no power and can only fight with death,” still another says.

The Suzhou incident was by no means the first time people died in conflicts regarding relocation. Two years ago, for example, an old couple in Shanghai was burnt to death in the house they refused to move out to make way for a development project. Shanghai government later announced that the arsonists were people from a local relocation company.

Meanwhile, a lot of public attention is still on the story in Chongqing.

The deadline of Thursday, which was set by a local court for Yang Wu and his wife Wu Ping to allow demolishing their house, passed without much happening. Construction workers have set up fences around Yang’s standing-alone property to stop people other than him, his wife and journalists from coming close. The couple tried to move back to live in the house a few days ago. They haven't lived there for about two years.

According to Chinese law, the court will enforce its ruling under coercion if Mr. Yang failed to obey it, but the court has yet taken any action. Court officials told state media that the court needed some time to carry out the enforcement. Wu Ping also told a dozen of journalists from around China that she was willing to give up her house if an agreement could be reached.

Suzhou killing

Online comments

Chongqing conflict


Anonymous said...

Do you mean "but the court has NOT yet taken any action"?

hari deepak said...

Well i am really sorry to hear about Ma Xueming,I think anyone would react violently given his situation...but again Ma Xueming is one person and his interests cannot take priority over the interests of the nation.....Well some questions which can be asked regarding this topic are...What kind of alternate accomodation was Ma Xueming provided?....but apart from that these are some of the realities people have to face in a growing economy and as far as i know chinese people are one of the most law abiding people in the world....But again there is self respect.....Well whose side would you take with mrs.liu Ma or the government?...i think the debate can rage on without any clear solution.....

Regarding my previous comment i only suggested that english could be a first medium along with chinese in schools..not the first language of the country..sorry for framing my question wrongly...and every chinese person himself an embodiment of chinese culture...The questions i wanted to ask were....What is the current importance given to english language in chinese society?Also you said yougsters are much better in this aspect does this mean that chinese now learn english even from primary level?...thank you

Josie Liu said...

Chinese students are generally required to learn English starting no later than 7th grade. English is the most studied language in China besides Chinese. Or, I can say English is the first foreign language in China. In more advanced cities like Beijing and Shanghai, many children start to learn English in elementary school or even kindergarten.

Josie Liu said...

Sorry, i meant to say "the court has yet to take any action."

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