Forced demolition can be harmful

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2011, 12:00am


Using forced demolition to speed up economic development does more harm than good, economists warn.

Professor Raymond So Wai-man, dean of Hang Seng Management College's school of business, says such development projects have generated a huge amount of profit on the mainland.

But, he says, trying to accomplish in a few years what other countries take dozens of years to achieve could be harmful in the long run.

'When the development is too fast and rash ... there can be negative effects,' he says.

So says some projects are carried out without careful consideration of what buildings are actually needed, leading to a waste of resources.

He says 40 per cent of the country's gross domestic product comes from government investment, but it is hard to gauge how much of it is from forced demolition.

While he agrees that it could create job opportunities, he says this method is wrong.

'It is like you butcher a man you see on the street and then use his organs to save other people,' So says.

Cheng Yuk-shing, associate professor of economics at Baptist University, says the country does not need to speed up economic development through forced demolition, although it could bring tremendous progress.

'It should go slower. This is because if it is too fast, the social cost will be too high,' he says.

Artist Zhou Jinhua says while most people get only a little compensation for a forcibly demolished house, some do get reasonable compensation. Some even get too much, he says.