Monthly Archives: March 2012

A Vison for Xian Village’s Future, A Push for Development

"Establish a civilized city, Establish a harmonious Guangzhou." Xian Village, fall 2011

This series presents portions of a propaganda poster that appears at major entrances to Xian Village. It lays out an argument for Xian Village’s development, comparing Xian Village’s current condition to plans and architectural illustrations of the project. It is the most comprehensive design for Xian Village that I have seen so far. It provides layouts of sample villager apartments, a layout of public areas, and a plan for lineage hall and temple relocations.  It breaks down which areas will be preserved for villager residences (District A- see diagrams below), for the industries and real estate owned by the village cooperative (District B), and for land which I believe will be ceded to either developers or the city government (District C).   Below see portions of  the advertisement in detail along with full translations.  The poster lends insight into land ownership structures, the government’s vision for Guangzhou’s urban living environment, cultural preservation, and the steps taken to assuage villager concerns.

“The Future of Xian Village:” This poster’s background photo places Xian Village within the context of Guangzhou’s new Central Business District, Zhujiang New New Town.  The small text on the left reads, “ Construct a high quality life/ Together create a happy tomorrow.” The white box, titled, “”New Xian Village, New Future,” reads: “Tianhe Central Business District has already become Guangzhou’s hottest focal point, and this thus brought the rise in value of this piece of land, [Xian Village]. The beginning of a happy future for the villagers of Xian occurs on the basis of the smooth implementation of the renovation plan for old Xian Village.”

The photos on the left show “The Current Condition of Xian Village.” The photos on the right show “”Xian Village after Renovation.” The bullet point section, titled “With the replacement of the old with the new, values rise remarkably,” reads: -Villagers’ individual old houses will be replaced with new houses.- The Value of villagers’ residences will rise greatly. -During the renovation, villagers will receive according to the size of their home and surpassing current rental prices, 25 RMB per square meter per month, as if the [demolished] houses were still being rented out. – The problem of the schooling of villagers’ children has already been arranged for by the district government. Children can enter the New Xian Village Elementary School during the temporary moving period so that livelihoods may be protected.

Bottom left: “Plan of Results for Hotel and Commercial Area.” Right: “General Plan” Bullet points are titled, “Village Collective Economic Development will Expand, Villagers’ Lives will be better Safeguarded.” -Newly built 30,000 square meter hotel, newly added 200,000 square meters of underground parking space, will directly bring the whole village close to 55 million RMB in income annually. – The re-built  market will be on a bigger scale than the old market, villagers’ shopping will be more convenient and will bring  the village collective 12 million RMB in income annually. -In 57 mu (measurement of land area) of commercial and office space will bring 87 million RMB in income annually.

“Continue the Historic Style” -Continue the historic style, move the village’s lineage halls and temples. The original five lineage halls and one Tianhou Temple with deity facing many directions will be rebuilt in original locations or in a newly chosen place within close proximity. -Consider the villagers’ living habits, place lineage halls mainly within District A’s (Villager Residence District) green areas. -Lineage halls will be arranged on the district’s main road and on two sides integrated into the scenery or arranged  in two group along a corridor for viewing.” See one of Xian Village’s lineage halls. 

This panel outlines districts A, B, and C and details their specific uses. The northern road is Huang Pu Da Dao, the western road is Xian Cun (Village) Road, the eastern road is Liede Da Dao, and the southern road is Jinsui Road. “General Plan” “Principles of Placement Compensation” 1. All villagers are guaranteed to return placement within the original confines of the village. 2. Villagers with houses will be completely compensated on the basis of one square meter of compensation for each square meter demolished. 3。 Community shareholders and society shareholders and resettlement will be done consistent with standards.

This poster outlines the three types of areas, A, B, and C, which will occupy the new Xian Village site. From this posting it seems that districts A and B will remain under the control of the village collective. Properties in District A will be distributed amongst families, and District B’s properties will be rented out and managed by the collective corporation. The wording suggests that the village will cede ownership of District C. “ A District: Villager Resettlement district, uses 7.5 hectares, residences will form a complete set of floor space totaling 450,000 square meters. Buildings will have 33 floors and construction will include a kindergarten, lineage halls, and commercial space, all to provide villagers a top quality residential environment. B District: Villagers’ rebuilt property district, uses 2.6 hectares, the villagers’ apartments will have 140,000 square meters, a collectively owned hotel and collective properties of 30,000 square meters. Buildings will have 20-29 floors, and will provide for the ensured sustainable development of the village collective. C District: Financial District, capabilities include commerce, commercial service offices, apartment hotel, with the tallest building having 55 floors, this will form the district’s symbolic structure.”

“Many Different Apartment Types for Villagers to Choose From” This diagram shows the plan for the site of Xian Village. The colored areas, labeled “Residence choice 1-7” will be the new residences of villagers. The three deep orange buildings on the left are apartments which I believe will be rented by the village collective.

This diagram shows layouts for floors of the buildings that will eventually house villagers after the renovation. They depict two floor plans with apartments of varying floor spaces and number of bedrooms.

Left: “Settlement Subsidy”

一: Settlement Compensation Principles

  1. All villagers are guaranteed to return placement within the original confines of the village.
  2. Villagers with houses will be completely compensated on the basis of one square meter of compensation for each square meter demolished.
  3. Community shareholders and society shareholders and resettlement will be done consitstent with standards.

二: Many types of apartments will satisfy the need for choice amongst villagers.

三: Resettlement Times

According to Guangzhou’s “Three Old,” [a city wide policy for renovating urban villages,]  Renovation Office << Regarding Tianhe District Xian Village Renovation Plan Reply>> ,Xian Village’s entire renovation will be completed in 3.5 years.

四: Temporary Settlement Plan

(一)   Temporary Settlement Cost Payment Standards

(1) Those residences with proof of property rights   will be compensated a standard temporary resettlement fee of 25 RMB per square meter of their original property per month.  ;

Seeing that there remains for villagers the current difficulty of having no property to rent out, the city district renovation office is already coordinating  and supervising  the village corporation to formulate and fulfill the plan to compensate the villagers for their rental properties, to realistically resolve the villagers’ huge problems of temporary resettlement.

(2) Commercial storefront rental space will be compensated in line with the February 1, 2010 standard of 60 RMB per square meter per moth of temporary compensation.

(二)  Vulnerable groups will receive special attention during the temporary move.

Regarding the village’s elderly, families facing difficulty etc., the village corporation has already set reasonable and feasible specialized plans, they will take measures to take special care, including a proper increase in allowances.

Right: “Protective Measures”

-The renovation process will adhere to the principles of “Impartiality, fariness, and openness.”

-Introduced with force from the cooperative enterprise, quickly and effectively put through the renovation work to ensure resettlement within 3.5 years.

-Establish renovation fund account, adhere to a specific appropriation and specific funds. With the district government and streetside offices implementing supervision over the entire process, ensure that the project does not go unfinished.

-Village representatives, social structures, and governments of every kind will join forces and in every direction take part in the entire process’ supervision, and ensure the reconstruction and placement standards, and with order, we will smoothly bring it to completion.

-After the completion of Xian Village’s renovation, openness and engagement will have priority, and we invite the villagers, through training, to enter into the village corporation’s property management company, and take responsibility for management and every general affair regarding [the villager] residence district [within the new development.]

-Through talented and professional management, introduce upright industry, robust collective economy, impartial compensation of collective income, ensure villager’s equal enjoyment of the fruits of the renovation.

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Postings Attempt to Unite Migrants Against Eviction

Translation: Each worker from every corner of the land! Hello! I am a student of law and I have lived in Xian Village for more than 10 years and witnessed Xian’s difficulties and hardships. Today all around the village are announcements conspicuously posted by the Xian Village Development Company, that require us to leave the village within 15 days, and require us to get entry-exit papers, or else not be able to enter the area. At this point there are these issues: I want to instill in everyone some knowledge of the law so that each person can receive the protection of the law. Xian Village now is merely a development corporation. No individual or company has the right to enter the area. Without a card inspection, the enforcement of the law will prevent or forbid any person from entering or passing through. According to the Constitution: Except for unexpected circumstances and crime scenes, in which the police must temporarily seal off an area, the army is forbidden from not allowing travel. In other places one can freely enter and pass though, every Chinese citizen growing up in the People’s Republic of China’s territory can freely stride, shuttling back and forth into every place within our domain, setting foot everywhere in our Divine Land. Now even our residence permits are canceled by force.即可办, 可不办, Volluntarily handle. . Our salaries are low, our housing is not ensured, there is now low-cost housing, we can only choose Xian Village, this 平宜 place to rent housing and sustain our lives. Migrant workers need a place to live, we need to subsist, we all have a right to choose our own lifestyle and living environment. The Xian Village Development Company’s method is a serious violation of the law! If they continue to use remodeling urban villages a pretext for affecting the lives of us migrant workers, we must all unite! We must use the law to arm ourselves! If you have a problem, pick up the phone and dial the police at 110 for help! “In our great country, all men are brothers.” I wish every migrant worker good health and a happy new year!

Loudspeaker announcement of evictions from Xian Village, Mandarin, Recorded January 12, 2012 3:34 PM

In January posters appeared around Xian Village attempting to rally migrants to oppose evictions. The author claims to be a migrant worker (外来打工者) and appropriates freedoms of movement granted in the Chinese Constitution to claim that the restrictions of the Xian Village Development Company are illegal.

As mentioned in my earlier posts, in January 2012, messages appeared around the village announcing the eviction of all migrants in Xian Village and the requirement that all those wishing to enter and exit would need a special entry-exit card. After most migrants left the village for the Chinese New Year, the regulations went into force. By February guards  restricted movement into the village to only permanent villagers.

In some ways it is surprising that villagers and migrants would come together to oppose evictions considering their distinct interests. While villagers have land rights and a share in the village’s collective profits, migrants, no matter the duration of their residency, can gain no such rights. Moreover, significant social divides exist between migrants and their villager landlords.  A sign outside the Elderly Activity Center forbids migrants from entry, as do other public spaces such as ancestral halls and schools. This poster below could represent the attempt of a migrant to rally others in his or her community. It could represent the attempt of a villager to rally the support of migrants to their cause. In either case, it shows a recognition that the two groups share a common interest.

The author broaches the important issue of a lack of low-income housing in China’s metropolises. While in the past, China’s resident permit system posed the largest barrier to movement into cities, in many places the market now prices out migrant residents. Urban villages make up some of the last enclaves of low income housing for migrants in central Guangzhou.  The development of one urban village can have a dramatic effect on nearby rents. A landlord in the neighboring Shipai Village 石牌村 told me that the announcement of evictions in Xian caused rents in his village to rise by 25%. Development of urban villages continues all around Guangzhou (Guangzhou’s “Three Old” Transformations), “Six Large Urban Village Transformations”).

By March 2012 it appears that few if any migrants remain in Xian Village. Now, the only remaining obstacles to development are the villagers who refuse to sign away their land rights. Without migrant tenants paying rents, it is unclear how long these villagers will hold out.