"Demolishing a village" -- a controversial road towards urbanization

14:04, November 13, 2010      

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It took Du Deqing, a farmer from the Damazi Village of Yongqing County, Hebei Province, seven years to build his house, but the demolition only took several minutes.

"It is a waste of money," said the 53-year-old Du.

The man started preparing for the house in 2000 when he sold the grain he grew to buy bricks. The next year he sold grain for beams. Construction was completed in 2004 as he saved for another three years so he could furnish the house.

However, while Du was happily living in his new house, he was told to move to an apartment in a six-story building built by the local government. His village was to be razed.

The Damazi village was not alone. According to a report by the Hebei Daily, the province in north China planned to relocate people from 7,500 villages so about 33,333 hectares of land would become available for construction use.

In fact, similar things are happening across China amid the drive for urbanization.

According to a regulation decreed in 2008, local governments are not allowed to use arable land for urban construction, unless some in pilot regions can restore plots of the same size for cultivation.

As a result, many farmers were given apartments in county or township seats so their old homes could be leveled to become arable land, and a plot of arable land of the same size could be taken by local government for construction use.

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