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China mulls having courts rule on disputed forced demolitions

12-15-2010 08:36 BJT

China might remove the government's administrative power to force residents to relocate and instead rely on courts to make decisions after taking into account the concerns of residents and developers.

The revision was written into the draft regulations on expropriation of houses on state-owned land and relevant compensation, which were released to experts for discussion in November, said Shen Kui from Peking University's Law School during an interview with Xinhua Monday.

But the revision has yet to be approved by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council (LAOSC), Shen said. The office issued the first draft regulations in January for public submissions.

The draft was expected to replace the controversial Regulations on Administration of the Housing Demolition and Relocation in Cities that took effect in 2001. According to the regulations, local governments can order the demolition of people's homes if they do not agree to vacate their residence by a set date.

In 2007, the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament, adopted the Property Rights Law, granting equal protection to public and private properties.

Since then, according to the Amendment to the Law on the Administration of Urban Real Estate - which stresses the legal rights of property holders in expropriation procedures - the LAOSC has been entitled to revise the demolition regulations.

On Dec. 7, 2009, five professors from Peking University including Shen claimed in an open letter to the NPC that the demolition regulations are unconstitutional and violate the Property Rights Law.

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