Human Rights in China (HRIC) has learned that a woman and her 14-year-old son were forcibly removed from their home and detained for several hours in the course of a large-scale clearance operation for Shanghai’s hosting of the World’s Fair in 2010.
Sources in China told HRIC that on the morning of January 13, dozens of police officers from Shanghai’s Pudong and Zhoujiadu District Public Security Bureau Dispatch Stations, accompanied by more than 100 employees of the Chengxin Removals Company, launched a surprise clearance operation at the home of Fan Guijuan at 567 Shangnanlu. Still asleep when the clearance crew arrived, Fan and her son were awakened by the noise of the metal gate to their home being battered down, followed by 20 men bursting into their home. Fan, still clad in her underclothes, was then grabbed by the intruders. When Fan demanded to know who they were, she was told it was none of her business. She tried to grab her camera to record the intrusion, but was forcibly removed from her home, along with her son, and loaded into a vehicle. After a journey lasting some two hours, Fan and her son were deprived of their liberty for several more hours in an unknown location. Around 2:00 in the afternoon, Fan pleaded to be allowed to go to her mother’s home, and her request was granted, but for the next three days, Fan was kept under constant surveillance at her mother’s home and at her workplace.
Sources told HRIC that beginning in 2005, the Shanghai government has been carrying out wide-scale clearance operations to prepare venues for the 2010 World’s Fair. A total of six square kilometers of land in Pudong, Huangpu and Luwan District must be cleared, affecting nearly 20,000 households. Most of the clearance is being handled by Chengxin Removals and Liujiazui Removals, with the cooperation of local officials. On August 2, 2005, Shanghai’s Huangpu District Property Management Bureau issued a notice to the district’s residents that everyone must leave the clearance area by December 22 (the document is attached as a scanned image). Residents were told that the World’s Fair was a national project, and that there was no room for negotiation in the compensation or other terms of the clearance operation. They were further told that any opposition to the clearance operation would be considered tantamount to opposition to the World’s Fair, and that the consequences would be serious. Residents have already raised questions regarding the compensation terms, noting that collectives holding property in the clearance area have been offered compensation of 5,700 yuan per square meter, while individual householders are only offered 4,700 yuan per square meter.
The violent eviction of Fan Guijuan demonstrates how the right of Chinese citizens to fair and equal compensation, protected under Chinese and international law, is not enforced in practice but abused by government authorities. The government’s failure to abide by its own rules in the planning of a marquee international event is another setback in developing the rule of law in China.