Shanghai increases payouts for evictions
Bill Savadove in Shanghai
Compensation for relocated residents will rise in response to protests
Shanghai has increased the minimum compensation for people relocated to make way for property development, following public protests by residents complaining that the payments are too low.
But some residents said the new levels applied only to relocations this year, so people involved in long-standing disputes would still be paid by the old standards.
The increases vary widely according to district and specific location. Officials could not give a figure for the average rise.
Property industry officials said Shanghai's compensation levels were among the nation's highest.
For districts in the city centre, compensation rates rose an average of 2,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan, the Oriental Morning Post reported.
In the central Jing'an district, site of a land scandal involving Chau Ching-ngai, the jailed developer, authorities would offer at least 5,700 yuan to 7,700 yuan per square metre, the Shanghai Housing and Land Resources Administration said in a statement on a government website. That compares with 4,100 yuan to 4,600 yuan previously.
Chau was recently jailed for three years for manipulating stock prices and falsifying financial statements.
Residents who sued, and lost cases against Jing'an district claimed he colluded with local officials to obtain land.
The eastern Pudong district increased compensation for people now living on the site of the 2010 World Expo by 37 per cent to a minimum of 5,700 yuan per square metre because of the mass evictions needed to clear the land, estimated at 17,500 households.
Following reforms announced by Shanghai after the Chau scandal and moves by the central government to slow the economy, the number of evictions has fallen as the property market has slowed.
In the first five months of this year, Shanghai moved 15,000 households, down more than 50 per cent annually, and approved the eviction of 5,705 households, down more than 70 per cent.
Property developers typically give districts a lump sum for relocations, meaning the less paid to residents, the more districts can retain, which has led to abuses.
In the central Huangpu district, demolition workers caused the collapse on Wednesday of an occupied house, injuring three people, local television said.
Hundreds of residents in the district living around the city's old east gate are holding out for more compensation.
One said officials had offered him 3,750 yuan per square metre, the 2002 level, even though the new level was 5,100 yuan.
'The compensation isn't in line with market prices,' he said.
Some residents had hoped to stay in the area but he said the level of compensation ruled out that possibility.
Shanghai has tried to build more affordable housing to meet demand. Housing priced below 6,000 yuan, considered by the city to be lower cost, accounted for more than half of sales in the first half of this year.
Some residents complain that low-cost housing is located far outside the city centre with poor transport and other infrastructure.