Loss of Homes Threatens Social Stability in China

The possibility for social unrest in China could arise as a result of the conflict between the state’s property prerogatives and citizens’ housing interests. From Stephanie Ho of Voice of America News:

Forty-two-year-old Gao Shuhuan has lived in this home for nearly half her life. “This is my house. Within half an hour, it will be torn down by force,” she cried. “They are tearing it down without paying us a cent in compensation.”

The bulldozer springs to life. The house that had sheltered Gao and her family for two decades was no match for the machine’s relentless power. It took less than 20 minutes to reduce her home to a pile of rubble.

In a rapidly modernizing China, events like these have become commonplace. Catching a complete demolition on videotape, though, is a rarity. Foreign cameramen are routinely prevented from filming, due to the extreme sensitivity of the issue. Just recently, two Chinese photojournalists were beaten when they tried to snap pictures of a house demolition in Beijing.

December 5, 2008 6:47 PM
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Categories: Politics, Society