Courts told to correct govt errors on property

By Cao Yin (China Daily) Updated : 2018-05-16

Chinese courts were ordered on May 15 to continue to fight violations by government departments in land seizures and housing demolitions, as the nation has seen a rise in related disputes in the past three years.

"Every court should correct administrative mistakes as soon as possible when it's found that the administrations broke the law or violated judicial procedures to take land or demolish houses," said Huang Yongwei, chief judge of the administration division of the Supreme People's Court.

He said that land seizures and house demolitions still create major conflicts between residents and governments.

In 2015, Chinese courts heard about 29,000 such cases nationwide, accounting for 13 percent of the total against government departments. Last year, that increased to 39,000 cases accounting for 17 percent, the top court said.

"We'll try to issue a judicial interpretation on land seizures and demolitions to further explain how to compensate residents in that situation and to clarify the compensation standard," Huang said.

Some administrations say they resorted to forcible measures to improve work efficiency, "but that cannot be an excuse to disobey demolition procedures and laws", said Wang Zhenyu, a judge in the division.

For example, Lu Jiyao, a native of Jiangsu province, took administrators from his community to court in Taizhou, after finding that his house had been destroyed in December 2015 without any written notice or explanation, the top court said.

The administration said during the trial that it took action to speed up the demolition, but the court ruled that its behavior was illegal and had harmed Lu.

Wu Nan, a judge of Beijing No 4 Intermediate People's Court, said that procedural flaws are often seen.

"Some teams doing demolitions didn't even see the residents when delivering evaluation reports about how to get compensation. Instead, the administrators just left the materials at the home or went away," she said.

Such problems seem small, but can easily lead to disputes or intensify conflicts between residents and administrations, she said.

If an administrative violation is verified, the government must compensate the resident, she said.