ZHENGZHOU, March 28 -- A court in Luoyang, central China's Henan Province, began hearing a case where 266 households in the city sued their local government over land requisition and violation of regulations on protection of the old town.
The 266 families claimed that the Laocheng (old town) district government began a policy of requisition of land in the ancient town on August 8 last year, ordering the seizure of more than 1,000 mu (66.7 hectares) in a move that contradicts the city's 2011-2020 overall plan and the country's regulation on ancient town protection.
The Laocheng district government initiated the land requisition plan without holding public hearings and the compensation did not go through proper evaluation, according to some of the households.
"Under laws and regulations, nobody is allowed to build new houses or renovate houses in the key protection areas of historical streets," said He Boting, a 69-year-old resident.
"The government actually plans to demolish the historical streets, sell the land to developers to build new pseudo-classic architectures," He said, "and we will not agree to such sabotage of the ancient town in the name of commercial development."
The Luoyang Intermediate People's Court will release a verdict on the case at a later date.
Commercial development of ancient towns has been a trend across China in recent years and has long been criticized by the public for damaging ancient culture.
Luoyang, situated in central China's Henan Province, is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization and is one of the "Four Great Ancient Capitals of China."