Equipment to track seismic movement near Olympic Village destroyed by developer, institute claims A China Earthquake Administration institute is suing a developer for demolishing a monitoring station it said was important in detecting seismic movements near Beijing's Olympic Village. The Institute of Geology filed the case against Shuntiantong Real Estate Development Group in the Changping District Court this month, demanding it restore the station and pay 500,000 yuan compensation. But an employee of the developer said the project was approved by 'relevant authorities' and the demolition of the station was legal. An institute staff member, who only gave his surname as Yang, said the station in the village of Taipingzhuang had been torn down on August 1, 2004, to make way for the construction of a road for a residential area called Tiantongyuan. The developer began to evict people living in the village in 2003, and surveillance equipment was destroyed on several occasions, according to details of the institute's lawsuit carried by the Beijing Times. Mr Yang said the institute held negotiations with the developer but they failed to reach consensus. 'We demanded that they restore the monitoring station. We hadn't even signed an agreement and the station was demolished to make way for a road, forcing us to stop any seismic observation there over the past two years,' Mr Yang said. He said the developer had violated the Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters, which mandated the protection of earthquake monitoring facilities. Because it was near the Olympic Village, which will house athletes and officials during the Games, Mr Yang said the station was a key part of efforts to monitor seismic activity before and during the event. 'The station was also important in monitoring the region, because its location was very favourable and it collected accurate information and data,' he said. The 500,000 yuan compensation claim was designed to cover the loss of seismic data and the restoration of the station. A Shuntiantong employee said 'relevant authorities' approved the project but refused to say which government department had approved the project. The Changping Court said it had accepted the case. Mr Yang said it was expected to go to trial within a month. The institute's case is one of the many eviction disputes cropping up across the mainland, where residents are often cheated of proper compensation or evicted without their consent. Mr Yang said the institute had decided to sue the developer almost two years after the station's demolition because all of its attempts at negotiation had been unsuccessful. Beijing lies in a relatively stable geological area, but it has been shaken by seismic activity in neighbouring provinces over the years.