Developers should obey law

Updated: 2012-03-23 13:19

(China Daily)

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An illegal demolition destroyed the homes of six families in Harbin of Heilongjiang province on Mar 14.

As the forced eviction happened in the middle of the night, the authorities were left in the dark as the mercenaries hired by a private demolition company forced the families from their homes and bulldozed the properties.

Thanks to media exposure of the forced evictions, the local police quickly arrested eight people for their involvement, although another 20 are still at large.

The State Council issued the Ordinance on Requisition and Compensation for Houses on State-owned Land in January 2011, which regulates land requisition and the demolition of houses and safeguards the legal rights of property owners.

But what happened in Harbin reminds us that the ordinance cannot fulfill its original purpose if the relevant authorities do not enforce it.

The media's exposure of the illegal demolition in Harbin resulted in the pressure of public opinion forcing the local government to act.

Nowadays, local governments across the country make money by auctioning land to real estate developers. As they pocket large amounts of money from the transfer of land-use rights, local governments should be aware that any misdemeanor in the process will be laid at their door.

There should be no need for the bulldozers if the residents to be relocated have signed compensation agreements.

The use of force takes its toll on the trust people have in their local government and the law.

So there is no excuse for the authorities standing by with folded arms while bulldozers force people from their homes. The bulldozers are not just destroying people's homes, they are also destroying people's trust in their local government.

It is expected that the householders in Harbin that were forcibly evicted will receive appropriate compensation and all those suspected of being involved in the illegal demolition will be arrested and charged.

Local governments and the relevant authorities must fulfill their duties and supervise the whole process of land trade according to the relevant laws.