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Family loses lengthy fight against eviction

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 July, 2008, 12:00am

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A Beijing family's battle to stop local authorities from razing their home ended yesterday when their brick house on Dianmen Avenue, a popular attraction for tourists, was demolished for Olympic clearance.

Yu Pingju and her family did not show up at the site yesterday, following the destruction of their home - which doubled as a shop - on Friday morning, neighbours said. The site has been made a flower bed.

The family had refused to leave and posted pictures of top state leaders and national flags on the walls, despite a court announcement that a forceful eviction would take place.

Police and judges from Beijing's Eastern District Court tried to evict the family several times but failed, as they would lock themselves in.

The government began demolishing houses on the avenue in 2005 to rebuild part of an ancient city wall. Most area households accepted compensation and moved out.

Ms Yu once used an amplifier to tell the neighbourhood that the government had offered just 340,000 yuan (HK$389,402) in compensation for their 130 square metre property. She said the average price in the community was over 20,000 yuan per square metre.

During her last appearance in front of the house last week, she said the amount could not guarantee a place to live and a means to support the family.

Local media reported yesterday that the government had promised to relocate the family to another a commercial property worth some 4.5 million yuan.

But the family turned the offer down, asking for 16 million yuan instead, the Beijing Morning Post said.

Disputes between private property owners, and developers and local governments on the mainland have been a regular occurrence recently, increasing the cost of reconstruction for the developers and governments.