Sep 28, 2010
An online photograph shows a real bullet attached to a demolition notice, which is allegedly from a local property developer. It warns those living in a residential compound in Hohhot to move out of their homes.
BEIJING – Police in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region are investigating an incident in which a real estate company allegedly threatened some residents with bullets to force them to relocate.
A local resident surnamed Liu said four notices with bullets attached were posted on their residential buildings’ walls in July, saying that each resident who refuses to move out by the end of July will receive a gift from the company – a bullet.
“We reported it to the police. They took away the bullets, but haven’t given us any answer yet,” Liu told China Daily on Monday over the phone.
The local police station in Hohhot, capital city of Inner Mongolia, confirmed that they got the notices with bullets, but would not give more details.
“We’ll give the results of the investigation to the residents when we know the origin of the bullets,” a senior police officer surnamed Zhao said on Sunday over the phone.
Liu said electricity and water supplies in their houses have been cut off. The roof of their building is also damaged.
“We’ve been living here since 1967, and we enjoy living here. We don’t want to go anywhere else, and we for sure don’t have money to buy new homes,” Liu said.
According to Liu, the Mingze Real Estate Company asked the residents to move out so that they can rebuild and expand the buildings, and the residents later can move back if they pay the company a certain amount of money.
“If you don’t move back, they pay you some amount of compensation, which is not as high as market value. If you want to move back, you have to pay them the price difference between an old and a new apartment,” Liu said.
“It’s absurd that someone is forcing us to move out so that they can rebuild our building and sell it,” he said.
Photographs of the notices with the bullets have been posted online and have become a hot topic among netizens, who are demanding that local police find out the origin of the bullets as soon as possible.
“I’m trying to help the residents there, as it seems they have no other way out,” said Zhang Hongfeng, a famous blogger from Central China’s Hunan province. He put the photographs on his micro blog, which has caused widespread attention.
Liu said he and some residents in Hohhot have been asking for help from different local government departments, but each was trying to shuffle the responsibility to another.
Liu said they went to the city’s demolition office, which issues approvals of demolishing people’s houses to real estate companies, but they were told, “why don’t you residents cooperate with the company and make things easier?” “We don’t know what to do. More and more people are moving out, leaving the poor and elderly here with nowhere to go,” said Liu.
However, according to Changsha-based Xiaoxiang Morning Herald, the Mingze Real Estate Company denied that they issued any notices with bullets.
Violence during forced relocations has repeatedly hit media headlines, especially after the death of Sichuan native Tang Fuzhen, who set herself on fire to protest the demolition of her house last year.
Earlier this month, three people in Jiangxi province burned themselves in protest when they confronted workers who planned to demolish their house to make way for the construction of a bus station. One of them died later in hospital.