Housing a basic right, says NPC

08:24, October 26, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The country's top legislature said on Monday that the right of habitation is "one of the fundamental rights for residents" and should be guaranteed through legislation, as its bimonthly legislative session opened in Beijing.

The statement is seen as another major step after the central government introduced a slew of measures to curb rocketing housing prices in the country.

"To fundamentally solve the problem of the construction of economically affordable housing, we need to establish a national housing security system and to quicken the pace of legislation in this sector," Shi Xiushi, head of the Financial and Economic Committee of the National People's Congress, said while making a report to the legislature.

He said this year the central government allocated 79.2 billion yuan ($11.9 billion) to help local governments build economically affordable housing for the underprivileged.

China plans to build 5.8 million government-subsidized apartments this year, compared with 3.3 million apartments last year. By the end of September, construction had started on 90 percent of the apartments, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

However, Shi said that according to legislators' investigations, the money is still far from enough. He said the subsidy from the central government for each economically affordable apartment is only 23,700 yuan on average, or about 30 percent of the construction cost.

Many provincial governments fail to allocate a proper amount of money for such projects, leaving the burden to governments of cities, counties or districts, he said. "These grassroots-level governments complain that the pressure is too much."

Shi said some economically affordable housing projects lack basic facilities such as water or power supply, which makes it difficult for residents to move in. Some other projects are placed in city suburbs that are short of education, medical and traffic resources.

In early October, the quality of affordable houses sparked public concern as the first demolition of government-subsidized apartments took place in Beijing.

Six of the nine buildings in a project under construction for low-income housing were ordered to be demolished due to substandard concrete and two other buildings needed reinforcement, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said.

In face of so many problems, Shi said legislators suggest more subsidies should be directly given to low-income citizens to rent apartments, and a financial system that coordinates central and local government spending should be set up.

Chen Sixi, deputy chief of the Internal and Judicial Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, said the legislation process of a draft law on affordable housing should be quickened, too.

The draft law, though on this year's legislation agenda, has been put off to next year, he said.

"The draft law should specify the proportion of different types of housing, from luxury houses to economically affordable ones, so that local governments can better supply government-subsidized housing for the underprivileged and also work on local economic developments," Chen said.

Source: China Daily


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion