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Henan Official: Workers Who Forcibly Relocate Residents Are “The Cutest”

Posted: 04/16/2014 7:36 pm
shao chunjie

Shao Chunjie outlining where dreams will be simultaneously built and destroyed.

It’s one thing to say outlandish things, but it’s another thing to be proud of it. People online have been buzzing about the sheer brazen gall of a Henan official who praised the government workers employed for the purpose of chaiqian, which is the act of forcibly removing residents from their homes so that they can be relocated as their homes are demolished.

Shao Chunjie is a municipal secretary for the District of Shihe in the city of Xinyang, Henan Province. And now, he’s internet famous.

Shao is said to have lauded these folks that tear down homes and dreams for a living at the scene of the incident, and we know this because he thought it was a good idea to write down these words for posterity. In an essay. Published on the internet. On an official government website.

Published on December 25, 2013 and verified by a reporter from Nandu, here are some choice highlights in praise of these people who sweat and toll so that we may have fresh, new real estate to develop upon:

This moment will forever be engraved in the pages of history, this moment will forever be engraved in the minds of the people… You people [that are forcibly removing and relocated these residents] are the kindest, the most venerable, the cutest people of all of Shihe District! You are the most worthy of receiving songs and praises!

For sure. I hear that Rage Against the Machine is thinking about a reunion tour.

Grand and noble Shihe People are firmly resolved to overcome any obstacle, and tenaciously hold onto the ideal that “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. They are able to withstand bitter suffering, able to do battle, able to take on great tasks — all with exceptional quality. They have a spirit that will never give up: they can chew through the stiffest bone, and pull out even the toughest nail.

As the people who resist forcible relocation are colloquially said to live in “nail houses”, I think you killed with that pun, Shao. (Way to work with the material!)

And then there’s this:

Upon seeing a veteran of forcibly relocating residents named Zhang Deshun covered in dust, Shao Chunjie became very compassionate and emotional, saying, ‘We humbly thank you who work so hard to tear down these houses for the government. You have suffered bitterly, encountered difficulties, and the government will remember this for always…’

Shihe District resident Chen Gang says says refers to an incident back on December 20, 2013 in which Chen and his family were forced out of their home and beaten before an agreement was even made.

Man, if only my boss was as thankful for all my hard work… but then, I don’t destroy people’s lives for a living. At least, as a mild-mannered blogger, not yet…

Photo:, smehen


Guangzhou destroys two heritage buildings from the 1940s, despite protests

Posted: 06/14/2013 10:00 am

Two buildings on Guangzhou’s Shishu Road which represent a rare form of architecture were leveled on the morning of June 11 in spite of locals having written to the government to protest, Xinhua reports. Both were built during the Republic of China period in the 1940s.

The demolition crew in action, courtesy of Xinhua

The buildings were said by experts to represent a form of architecture that mixed the ancient with the modern and is extremely rare. The type of architecture was even described as being as important to China’s cultural heritage as the panda.

Historically significant buildings being demolished in the name of development is, of course, nothing new.

Philip Pan described the process in his 2008 book, Out of Mao’s Shadow:

In reality, though, local officials often approved projects and sold land-use rights to developers without going through the trouble of buying or seizing them from homeowners first. Officials then conspired with developers to pressure owners to give up their land. Developers often hired thugs to intimidate residents while police looked the other way. And local authorities sometimes cut off water, electricity, or heat to the holdouts. If necessary, the government intervened on behalf of developers and ordered a forced eviction on questionable legal grounds. Altogether, between 1991 and 2003, more than half a million families in Beijing were evicted by developers.

This has given rise to the coinage of the term “chaina,” which sounds like the English word “China” but means “Where should we demolish next?”

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