The Place Where My Heart Settled Down is My Hometown / Sheng Hong

 

The Place Where My Heart Settled Down is My Hometown

Sheng Hong

Novel coronavirus pneumonia is a pressing matter of the moment, but some people can’t relax even after the epidemic. From November 2019, the residents of the “Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall” community have been on duty day and night. This community is located in Jiudu-River Town, Huairou District, Beijing. Surrounded by mountains, Jiudu River flows by. Although the river is often dried up for human reasons, there are still murmuring water in years with high rainfall, such as 2008. On the mountain to the north, the Great Wall in the Zhuangdaokuo is clearly visible. Many residents have bought houses here since 2006. Some are used as first residence, others as weekend villa. In any case, this community is their home, where reserves good times with family and friends. However, why are they on duty? Who are they guarding? They guard against the local government. It’s strange, why should the government be guarded against, now that its vocation is to protect citizens’ lives, houses and properties? Because since November last year, there has been a terrible “rumor” spreading here, that is, the local government is going to tear down this community.

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If it’s a “rumor”, why do people believe it? Because it’s not a rumor. On October 17, the government of Cuicun Town, Changping District posted a notice on October 15, asking Xiangtang new village residents to demolish their houses by October 18. On November 4, fairytale villa community and Banshan Yunju community in Nankou Town, Changping District were faced to be demolished, the owners demonstrated in front of Changping District government, and were forced to demolish on December 20. On December 24, the community of “European North wooden house area” in Yanshou Town, Changping District was cut off from water and power supply, forcing residents to leave to carry out forced demolition. On January 13, 2020, Guozhuang village, Shisanling Town, Changping District was forcibly demolished. Most of these houses were beautiful country villas, but after being forcibly demolished, they turned into a piece of broken walls and ruins in an instant, making people miserable; the helpless and indignant complaints of the owners who lost their homes made the conscience unable to bear them.

In fact, the Beijing municipal government regards the forced demolition of small property houses as an important administrative task. Since last year, it has published a list of 108 forced demolition projects in the suburbs of Beijing, and 27 have been demolished. Although the Old Beijing Courtyard of Water Great Wall is not on the forced demolition list for the time being, it may be included in the list at any time because the list has neither solid legal basis nor legal due process. What’s more, it’s also reported that the Beijing municipal government has planned to dismantle the so-called “illegal construction” equivalent to 15.5% of the built-up area of Beijing. Up to now, 15% of the “task” has just been completed, and the “task” can only be “completed” after a large-scale demolition. As a suburban county, District Huairou’s total built-up area is only 27.3 square kilometers, less than 14% of the total target. Now it seems that this kind of forced demolition is not a few cases, but a systematic administrative act of the government.

Facts have proved the guess of the residents of the Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall. They have communicated with the government of Jiudu River town and asked what reasons for the forced demolition. The first answer was in the flooded area of the river. So the residents specially invited the former water affairs expert and professor level senior engineer of the Ministry of water resources to participate in the discussion with the town government on January 14, pointing out the mistake of this excuse. In fact, even in river flooded areas, residents would rather be “flooded” than make it an excuse for forced demolition. So the town government said again, this is a villa. Residents also understand the planning, saying that according to the definition of “villa” by the Ministry of land and resources, this is not a villa. The town government began to talk about “five certificates”. This kind of behavior tells us that it is to have a target task first, and then find a reason. The excuses are all outrageous, and the real purpose is probably unspeakable absurdity. In fact, the residents only need one reason, which will surpass the countless reasons of the local government. This is that the right to housing is the constitutional right of citizens. The government only exists to protect the constitutional rights of citizens, so the government officials get the salaries paid by citizens – their taxes, once it does not protect but infringes, it has no legitimacy.

But now it seems to be reversed. We have seen that the administrative departments of the government have taken forced demolitions as their performance indicators, and taken the elimination of citizens’ wealth and the destruction of citizens’ homes as their policy objectives. They feel not only no guilty, but in the right and self-confident. According to Xiangtang residents, the party secretary newly transferred to Cuicun said as soon as he took office, “I just want to flatten Xiangtang!” (ten thousand villagers in Xiangtang village, “New Things in Changping, Beijing”, November 19, 2019) at some internal meetings of the government, the higher level officials, in a threatening manner, asked the lower level officials to use “real, hard and fast move” to forcibly dismantle (see China, November 27, 2017). I saw some videos of the people who came to forcibly demolish houses, who were rude in their words and deeds, and the people in the court window who were indifferent and indifferent to the citizens who came to file the complaint, and refused to accept them. The atmosphere was unbelievable and shocking; the government that our citizens paid for took our money to demolish our houses. Why is that? They really don’t know that citizens are their food and clothing parents. Why do they hurt the fundamental interests of citizens and think they are “enforcing the law”?

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Now they seem to have one of the most powerful reasons is “demolishing the houses violated regulation”. As long as it says that you are “illegal building”, it thinks that it demolishes ‘illegal building” legally. What is “illegal building”? According to Baidu Encyclopedia, “illegal building refers to the houses and facilities that are constructed outside the planning area without the planning license of the proposed project (original address, site selection and building opinion), and start construction in violation of the Land Management Law, Urban and Rural Planning Law, Regulations on Planning and Construction of Villages and Towns and other relevant laws and regulations, has the characteristics of occupying safe passage and farmland, affecting urban public space, destroying ecological environment, and many illegal buildings are still hidden in legal buildings. Illegal construction damages the credibility of the government, destroys the cityscape, restricts the healthy development of the city and the implementation of urban and rural planning, and also affects the future development of the city. “

First of all, the “violated-regulation building” is the term with very low legal effect, because the “regulation” of “violated” can be understood as “departmental regulations”. According to the Legislative Law, departmental regulations are at the lowest level of “laws and regulations”, on top of which are the Constitution, the Legislative Law, the Land Management Law, the Administrative Reconsideration law, the Administrative Procedure Law, etc. Even if “violating the regulations”, there is no reason for forcible dismantling, because this “regulation” may violate the upper law. For example, the forced demolition of houses violates the housing rights and property rights stipulated in the constitution. Now there have been many forced demolition, not only seriously violated the property rights of citizens’ houses, but also deprived citizens of the right to live in the houses. Many of them regard the houses to be demolished as their first residence, or even the only residence. According to their “regulation”, the administrative departments of the government want to deprive citizens of their basic constitutional rights, which is completely asymmetric. If there is a mistake or a crime, people who have a little knowledge of law know that their forcible demolition is a crime that cannot be tolerated by the society compared with the so-called “illegal construction” that they want to forcibly demolish.

Therefore, it is unconstitutional to forcibly dismantle the so-called “violated-regulation building”. Because the state is established to protect citizens’ lives, houses and properties, the Constitution emphasizes and proclaims these basic rights as citizens’ constitutional rights. The duty of the government is to protect the interests of the country by protecting these constitutional rights of citizens. It’s subverting constitutional principles if it excuses that citizens’ houses should not exist without its approval. This puts the urban and rural planning law above the Constitution and the Legislative Law. On the issue of “urban and rural planning law”, I have already made a criticism in the article “Why Xiangtang can’t be demolished”. The core idea is that the distribution of housing should first obey the market rules, and the government’s planning power for housing is limited to auxiliary and referential power. Its purpose is only to make the distribution of housing more reasonable, rather than to eliminate housing. Even though the Urban and Rural Planning Law itself only stipulates that “violated projects under construction” can be considered to be demolished instead of communities that have been built for ten or twenty years, and since it came into force in 2008, it has no legal effect on community houses built and sold before that.

Then look at the so-called “violated-regulation building” related to the “Land Management Law”. Before the law was amended in November 2019, it seemed that there was a clause saying that rural collective had no right to construct on their own land. In fact, if you look closely, you will know that there is a “but”. Article 43 stipulates: “any unit or individual that needs to use land for construction must apply for the use of state-owned land in accordance with the law; but, except for if the establishment of township enterprises and the construction of villagers’ houses are approved in accordance with the law to use the land owned by the farmer collective of the collective economic organization, or the construction of public facilities and public welfare undertakings in the township (town) village is approved in accordance with the law to use the land owned by the farmer collective. ” Is the residential community of rural collective development not a rural real estate enterprise? Therefore, the so-called “small property right housing” in rural areas is not illegal construction. After the amendment of the law, the clause of “construction must use state-owned land” has been deleted, and the principle that rural collective construction land can enter the land market has been recognized. According to the principle of “preferring new rather than old” (Article 83) of the legislative law, the so-called “house with small property rights” is even more absurd.

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Look again at the Regulations on the Planning and Construction of Villages and Market Towns. This is an administrative regulation enacted in 1993, with a very low level of legal effect. Even so, Article 18 contains provisions allowing non-agricultural residents to build or purchase houses in rural areas. “If urban residents with non-agricultural registered permanent residence need to use collectively owned land to build houses in the planned areas of villages or market towns, they shall go through the procedures of examination and approval prescribed in Item (1) of the preceding paragraph with the consent of their units or residents committees.” Among them, the clauses that the urban residents who want to build houses in rural areas need the agreement of units or residents committees are still the factors of planned economy, which are out of date after marketization, and the “item (1) of the preceding paragraph” refers to that the use of cultivated land should be approved by the county government. However, the vast majority of “small property right houses” do not use cultivated land, but “use the original homestead, idle land in the village and other land”. Therefore, according to this regulation, only “approval by the Township People’s government according to the village, market town planning and land use planning” is required, obviously, this “regulation” cannot prove that a large number of small property houses in Beijing suburbs are “illegal”.

Finally, look at the latter paragraph of the definition of Baidu Encyclopedia, “illegal building has the characteristics of occupying safe passage and illegal occupation of cultivated land, affecting urban public space, destroying ecological environment, etc.” basically, it has nothing to do with what a large number of local governments call “illegal building”. A large number of “small property right houses” are built in “villages in the city”, belonging to the rural collective homestead. Especially in the shallow mountain areas in the north of Beijing, there are a lot of hillside land or river beach land that cannot be used for farming, and a large number of so-called “small property houses” are built here. From this we can see how far-fetched the excuse of “breaking the law” by the local government is. In fact, I have studied China’s land institutions for many years, and also followed the history of forced demolition by local governments. “Demolition of illegal building” is an evil “experience” widely shared by many local governments. In the early days, local governments often encountered strong resistance in forced demolition, and they often failed to meet the demands of the people who were demolished when talking about compensation. So they came up with this bad idea, which seem to be a good excuse and need not pay. But the price is more serious violation of the constitution, violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, and damage to our judicial system and administrative system. Therefore, “demolition of illegal building” is an excuse for breaking all superior laws.

The problem is that there are many residents living in some communities that have been forcibly demolished. The natural law determines that they have the natural right to fight against the saboteurs who come to destroy their homes. Why are they so easy to be forcibly demolished? This is because, in order to better protect their homes, they transferred their natural rights to the government conditionally and wrote the conditions into the constitution, including that the government must protect their personal safety, housing rights, property rights, and human dignity, etc. What they did not expect was that some officials in the government, after temporarily mastering the public power on the condition that they promised to fulfill the Constitution, turned their back on their original promise and concentrated the power resources, which is for protecting citizens’ constitutional rights, in turn were used to damage their clients. At this time, the citizens who transfer their rights have no resources to fight against those who violate their promises. Because of the great disparity of power, these administrative officials are arrogant towards the citizens’ protest and extreme contempt for the civil rights. It is clear that these officials violated the social contract of the constitution. Why is that?

To understand in good faith, the problem is that although the government administrators swear to the constitution every year on the “Constitution Day”, the government departments do not carry out effective constitutional education, so that most of the government administrators do not understand the principles of the constitution. One of the biggest misconceptions is that they think government policy is bigger than constitution. As long as we have a look at the constitution, we know that China is a country with people’s sovereignty in theory. The government itself is established by the people through the constitution. The purpose of the establishment is to implement the constitution, especially to protect the constitutional rights of citizens stipulated in the constitution. The government must not make policies against the constitution. Therefore, the effectiveness of government policies must be lower than that of the constitution. If the administrative departments of the government use the power given to them by the citizens to infringe upon the interests of the citizens, it is a counter attack on the Sovereign of the state. This is common sense and has a long tradition. As early as in the Warring States period, Xunzi said, “People generated by the God is not for King, but the King established by the God is for people.” This has made clear the nature of the government’s provision of public services to the public. The correct way for government officials is to kneel in front of citizens’ constitutional rights and show respect and submission.

The second misconception among government officials is that the higher the level of government order, the more effective it is. This is wrong. In fact, both political science and public choice theory emphasize that the state is a social contract, which is based on the consent of citizens. Professor Buchanan, Nobel laureate, pointed out that the principle of unanimity is the best principle of public choice. A decision agreed upon by all parties is the best one between them. So the contract between two people is the best decision between them. The government has no right to deny the validity of this contract unless it damages the third party or the public interest. The legitimacy of the government can only be based on the protection contract. If it violates the contract, it has no rationality. Those contracts signed by villagers’ committees or township governments and buyers are actually contracts between two civil subjects, whose nature is equivalent to contracts between two natural persons. Township governments cannot deny their contracts as civil subjects because they are also administrative subjects. In this way, they are not qualified to be both civil subjects and administrative subjects. Any high-level government’s violation or denial of this contract is a subversion of the government’s own rationality and legitimacy.

However, in spite of the defects in the constitutional education of the government administrative officials, there are still protection mechanisms in the constitutional framework and legal system of our country in case of problems in the administrative organs. The original residence of residents is expensive property. Generally speaking, the demolition of residence is “crime of infringing property rights with serious circumstances”. According to the criminal law, this is to be “sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years” (article 275). Therefore, if the administrative department of the government wants to achieve its administrative purpose and avoid committing serious crimes, it should first make a request to the court for demolition, and then act with the consent of the court. Even if it acts unilaterally, because of the “Administrative Reconsideration Law” and “Administrative Procedure Law”, citizens can bring administrative reconsideration and administrative litigation to higher authorities of administrative departments or courts. However, in order to forcibly dismantle, some government administrative departments directly intervene in the judicial department. Some citizens who have been forcibly dismantled submit administrative litigation petitions, and the court is instructed not to accept them, which is directly reflected in the arrogant attitude of the reception personnel who refuse to serve. This is a clear violation of the “principle of independent trial of the court” stipulated in the Constitution (Article 131).

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There are also some government administrative departments that, on the surface, follow due process of law and sign demolition agreements with residents. However, in the negotiation process, they take some illegal means, such as putting pressure on the organizations or enterprises of the parties, threatening their families and friends, or interfering with the normal operation of the parties, or even beating the parties (World Wide Web, “New Year’s first kill: Jiangsu reappearance revenge case”, January 2, 2020), forcing them to sign the demolition agreement. According to Chinese tradition, this kind of alliance under the city has no effect. Confucius said, “God dose not listen the forced contract.” It also violates the modern principle of voluntary contract and has no legal effect. This is also very similar to the “crime of forced trading”, which is defined as “forcing others to provide or receive services” by means of “violence or threat”. Since “agreement” is the result of equal negotiation, the administrative department of the government can only be one party to the agreement. If they force citizens to accept their forced “services”, this “agreement” is not only invalid, but also suspected of “forced transaction crime”. According to the criminal law, if the circumstances are “especially serious, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than seven years and shall also be fined” (article 226).

It is said that there is also a “tactic”, that is, to agree with the owners’ administrative litigation, but to instruct the court to delay the time, during which time, to forcibly demolish the house. Of course, this is illegal operation. Because according to the Administrative Compulsory Law, “for illegal buildings where compulsory demolition is necessary, the administrative organ shall make a public announcement and set a time limit for the parties to dismantle by themselves. If the party concerned does not apply for administrative reconsideration or file an administrative lawsuit within the statutory time limit, and does not dismantle it, the administrative organ may forcibly dismantle it according to law. ” (Article 44) it clearly means that it cannot be forcibly dismantled before the administrative reconsideration and administrative proceedings are completed. The following clause is more clear: “if a party does not apply for administrative reconsideration or file an administrative lawsuit within the statutory time limit, or fails to perform the administrative decision, the administrative organ without the power of administrative enforcement may, within three months from the expiration of the time limit, apply to the people’s court for compulsory execution in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.” (art. 53) It means that enforcement can only be carried out with the consent of the court. The above tactics of administrative departments, that is, the forced dismantling in the process of administrative litigation, are illegal.

The broad sense of housing right includes public service. Public service has the requirement of uninterrupted service. Because tap water, electricity, pipeline gas and heating have become basic needs, which can not be lacked for a moment. To this end, the state has “Electricity Law”, “Urban Water Supply Regulations”, and various regions or cities have “Heating Management Regulations” to ensure. As stipulated in Article 29 of the electricity law, “power supply enterprises Power supply to users shall be continuous and shall not be interrupted. ” Violators “shall be liable for compensation according to law.” Article 33 of the regulations on urban water supply stipulates that enterprises that “stop water supply without authorization” shall “be liable to the persons in charge and other persons directly responsible Administrative sanctions may be imposed. ” Article 32 of the administrative measures of Beijing Municipality on heating and heating stipulates that “heating units During the heating period, if the heating is delayed, suspended or terminated ahead of time, the comprehensive administrative law enforcement organ of urban management shall order it to make corrections “and impose a fine. However, in order to forcibly demolish, some local governments also ignore these laws and regulations, arbitrarily and maliciously force public utilities to cut off water and power supply for the houses to be demolished, especially in winter, so as to force residents to withdraw from the houses, so as to achieve the purpose of forcibly demolishing. As mentioned above, this is the case of the “European North wooden house” community in Yanshou Town, Changping District. All these actions are against the law.

The public security system was originally used to protect civil rights. The Police Law stipulates that the most important qualification of the police is to be loyal to the Constitution, that is, to protect the constitutional rights of citizens. However, in the process of illegal demolition, police are often used to violate citizens’ constitutional rights. This is not only reflected in suppressing and intimidating the demolished citizens at the scene of the demolition, but also in the interference and destruction of citizens’ behavior of safeguarding their rights. Such as in the excuse of seizing gambling to impact the internal meeting of citizens’ rights protection discussion; interfering with citizens’ petition about forced demolition. For example, the residents of Guozhuang village, Shisanling Town, Changping District, Beijing who were forcibly demolished went to Beijing petition office on December 3, 2019 to petition, but were detained and threatened by the police. Liu Shuzhen, an 89 year old woman in Shanghai, was detained for allegedly provoking a quarrel when she was forced to demolish a house and told a deputy to the National People’s Congress. In order to achieve the purpose of forced demolition, some local governments also take other illegal means to interfere with the legitimate rights protection actions of the victims of forced demolition, such as using the police to exert psychological pressure on the parties, or even directly sending out the police to participate in the forced demolition; for example, in 2011, Panjin police not only participated in the forced demolition, but also shot and killed a demolished resident. In this way, the last and most direct resources of citizens to protect their rights with the help of public power are exhausted, and citizens are naked in the sense of legal protection.

To sum up, we can roughly make a judgment on the nature of the so-called “demolition of illegal building”. At the most superficial level, houses are forced to be demolished, which are the material facilities of the community. However, for those who have lived in these houses for one or two decades, this is the accumulation of their decades of hard work, which is the driving force of their hard work. Take the Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall as an example. If there is no threat from the government administration, a courtyard here is worth about 1 million yuan. Based on the per capita GDP of RMB 168 thousand in 2019, it also needs six years of total income accumulation. That is to say, if the community is demolished, it means that the residents here have six years of hard work income of zero; if the growth of personal income is calculated by 6% compound interest per year, it means that their income has not increased in 31 years. This is almost the best time for reform and opening up. Isn’t this equivalent to depriving them of the benefits they gained during the period of reform and opening up? Isn’t it the destruction of their belief that the income they get in the market must be their own?

More importantly, these communities and houses are the homes of these residents. Here, their children spent their childhood, their old people came here to spend the summer, and their friends gathered here. A person’s life is actually a series of memories; to tear down here is to tear down their good memories, is to tear down a part of their life. And family is the most cherished value of Chinese and foreign people, the meaning of their lives, and the source of their efforts. The success of household land contract production as the first step of reform and opening up is due to the establishment of an inspiring property rights system and the return of income growth to the family. And home is the material shell and spiritual support of the family. At this time, economic growth and property security are complementary. It is fundamentally contradictory for a government to eliminate wealth while focus on GDP growth at the same time. Therefore, the so-called “demolition of illegal building” of destroying the home is to dig the root of reform and opening up, which is the property rights institution that motivates people to work hard, and the legal system returning the result of protecting the property rights institution to the families and their homes.

Maybe some people think that things are not as serious as I said, because at present, only a small proportion of homes have been forcibly demolished. I don’t know if they’ve ever done a child’s brain tease: there are ten birds in the tree, one is shot down, and how many are left? If there are still nine, it is wrong. Forced demolition of homes not only brings losses to the owners who have been forced to demolish, but also brings the unease and fear of the owners who have not been forced to demolish. There are 7.8 billion square meters of small property rights houses in China. If 1000 yuan per square meter is used, it will be 7.8 trillion yuan. Even if only one percent of the houses are demolished, it will devalue all other small property rights houses. If the depreciation ratio is 30%, it will also depreciate by 2.3 trillion yuan. If count it by the market value, the loss will be greater. The legal system is more general. In violation of all constitutional and legal principles and procedures, forcible dismantling, without any legal relief for the damaged owners, is equivalent to forcibly dismantling our legal system. A country without a judicial system to protect property rights will also depreciate as a whole. So “demolition of illegal building” is to forcibly dismantle this country. Some people think that China’s economy is huge and it doesn’t matter if we do something wrong. However, the wrong thing is to dig the root of reform and opening up. The development speed of evil fruit is as fast as that of China’s miracle, and the withering speed of rootless trees will be very fast.

Hayek said in his Law, Legislation and Liberty, “what we call civilization It is through the demarcation of areas in which individuals or groups are truly protected that it becomes possible. ” “Property rights, in the broad sense of the term, include not only material things, but also each individual’s’ life, liberty and property ‘.” The so-called “demolition” is not only anti market, but also anti civilization. This can be explained by Su Shi’s “the place where my heart settled down is my hometown”. The core meaning of property right is “certainty”. This is actually a psychological feeling. The property right system, as a certain basis, is finally manifested as psychological stability. The so-called “certainty” means that a person feels that something will happen at the next moment, or that the basic state of someone or something will not change at the next moment, that is, he has a certain expectation. Only when we are sure, only when we are at peace, can we work hard and create. So in this sense, “My hometown” is the boundary of one’s certainty. Within this boundary, people can know for sure that the house, those properties must be his at the next moment; the people around him have a good faith guarantee that they will never infringe his property rights. So “my hometown” is not necessarily the place where a person was born and grew up, but the place where the foundation of certainty must be provided. Such a place, even thousands of miles away, is also “my hometown”.

And even if the place where I was born and grew, if there is an organization that I employ and should have protected me, turning around the gun and aiming at its client, and squatting near my home, holding a chicken feather that “demolition of illegal building”, taking the opportunity of my ignore to destroy my home, which makes me uneasy, anxious and frightened, and like the residents of the Old Beijing Courtyard in the Water Great Wall to keep watch day and night. How can it be called “my hometown” ? How can those places, which have not been forcibly demolished but may be forcibly demolished, become “my hometown”? In all places covered by this legal system, because the administrative departments ignore the Constitution and laws, and will not be sanctioned, people can’t foresee what kind of policies they will make to violate the civil rights in the next step, and how can they be “my hometown”? If it is not the “my hometown” of native people, how can it become the “my hometown” of foreigners? Can further reform and opening up be a credible commitment if it is not the “my hometown” of Chinese or foreigners?

Maybe some administrative officials said that I know these reasons, but now it is the superior who has issued the order of forced demolition, and I have to implement it. Such evasion has long been criticized by Hannah Arendt. In her book “Against the Evil of Mediocrity”, she puts forward that this kind of attitude that one just executes the order and is not responsible for the wrong order or crime is a kind of “mediocre crime”. During the trial of Eichmann in Israel, the latter defended his transportation of the Murdered Jews. However, Arendt pointed out that it is precisely because of this attitude adopted by all the executors that a great crime is carried out when no one seems to be responsible for it. On the contrary, in a country with good public governance, or in a dynasty with good governance in China, there are local officials who regard Dao or the Constitution as the principle higher than the administrative order. In case of improper administrative order, they call for the order for the people and do not hesitate to resist wrong order. As the good officials of Han Dynasty who Yu Yingshi said, ” what he pursued is no longer the imperial decrees “, but the Confucian doctrine of benevolence. (Scholars and Chinese Culture, Shanghai People’s publishing house, P. 139) In the Qing Dynasty, honest officials Yu Chenglong, repeatedly protested orders to protect the interests of the people. Such as retrial and rescue of hundreds of people who have already been sentenced to death in Fujian; protested orders to reduce the labors for military; unauthorized opening of the Royal granary in Zhili to relieve the victims. Aren’t you as good as a good official in Han Dynasty or an honest official in Qing Dynasty?

Some officials also believe that forcibly dismantling and suppressing people’s rights can establish the authority of the government, which will make people more obedient and the government can order and forbid. This is due to the lack of basic political knowledge. Hannah Arendt divided power into two parts. One is authority, the other is violence. Authority is something that makes people follow the rules voluntarily. An important source of it is the consent of the people. And the most important thing is that it follows the justice of heaven. Violence is not authority, but the bottom line supplement of power in special circumstances (such as stopping illegal violence). When abusing power, it will inevitably violate people’s consent and justice, and it will  be enforced. This is actually the use of violence, not power. Arendt said power depends on numbers, violence does not. Here “number of people” refers to the number of people who agree and support. I have simply described power as “authority plus violence.”. But the more violence there is, the less authority there is, and the less power there is. Yu Yingshi said, “it is the common requirement of the Confucians in the Han Dynasty to replace” punishment and killing “with” enlightenment ” (P. 157) that is, to replace violence with authority as much as possible. Do you really want to hurt people by abusing public power to make you feel “great”?

If the readers agree with the above proof, the so-called “demolition of illegal building” has no basis of the Constitution and laws, or violates all the constitutions and laws, so “demolition of illegal building” is not the exercise of power by the administrative departments of the government, but only the implementation of violence. The fact that they are able to do so only shows that they have the ability to violate the Constitution and the law and to remain unpunished for the time being does not in any way indicate that what they are doing is legitimate. The reason why they have such ability is not that the power in their hands gives them such ability, but that they abuse the public power given them by the people. Even long after the demolition, the consequences of their actions will remain illegal. Just like a robber who steals something and hasn’t been found or recovered for the time being, doesn’t mean that what he steals is legal, and his behavior is also legal. This illegal state will be a permanent problem for all involved actors. All violations of the law, all crimes against the justice of heaven, will eventually be liquidated, sooner or later.

So, what should we do? It’s simply to follow the Constitution and the law. Someone said that I did not read the Constitution and the relevant laws. I said, it doesn’t matter. Just follow the common sense of life that your parents taught you when you were young. Don’t do anything against common sense. A person’s common sense tells you that you can’t kill a person for “no birth permit”. For township officials and village committees, your common sense will tell you that these so-called “illegal buildings” have brought benefits, jobs and markets to the village. To dismantle these “illegal buildings” is not only to damage the interests of the villagers, but also to damage the economic development and public welfare of the township. For example, the Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall not only built for Xitai village and Huanghuacheng village together, the villagers not only received hundreds of millions of house sales funds, but also received hundreds of thousands of yuan of property fees every year, and also provided a variety of jobs such as property management, maintenance, gardener, bricklayer, catering, etc. once demolished, they not only destroyed their homes of owners, but also villagers’ livelihood. From the perspective of legitimacy and economic rationality, isn’t it clear what township governments and village committees should do? “You have made contributions to the construction of a new socialist countryside in Xitai village,” said the honorary villager certificate issued by Xitai village to the owner of the Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall. It seems clear.

The history of world urban development tells us that there is a process of suburbanization in the process of economic development. That is, because of the increase of income and the convenience of transportation (such as private cars), people are willing to live in the suburbs. In recent years, the economic development of Beijing suburbs mainly depends on the suburbanization of urban population, that is, they either buy houses in the suburbs, or go to the suburbs on weekends to play, eat and sleep. Taking Changping District as an example, the proportion of its service industry increased from 48.3% in 2008 to 62% in 2016; in 2017, the added value of the service industry was 51.8 billion yuan, more than or even several times the total GDP of many northern counties. The secret is self-evident. It is close to Beijing and takes advantage of the time and the place. It depends on the demand for fresh air and beautiful environment of the people with higher income in the urban area of Beijing. The development strategy of Beijing suburb also targets these people. The GDP of more than 50 billion yuan in Changping District mainly comes from them. From the perspective of suburban counties in Beijing, if calculated according to the ratio of service industry in Changping District, the GDP of service industry is about 562.3 billion yuan, almost 20% of Beijing’s GDP. Among the so-called “demolition of illegal building” in Beijing, Xiangtang new village, Old Beijing Courtyard in Water Great Wall, resorts and other tourism facilities are the main targets. Isn’t this kind of “demolition of illegal building” self-defeating martial arts, or self-destroying the source of wealth? Is this the way to repay the “honorary villagers” who have made “contributions”?

From the perspective of Beijing as a whole, such “demolition of illegal building” does not have any benefit to Beijing’s economic development, so we must firmly resist “breaking violations”. In fact, from 2016, Beijing has shown an artificial anti-urbanization trend, and its population is gradually decreasing. And urbanization is the main form of economic miracles brought by China’s reform and opening up. Counter-urbanization means counter-marketization, which means artificially preventing economic growth. I once estimated in the book “The Livelihood of Ordinary People, The Foundation of Great Country” that the losses caused by the anti-urbanization of Beijing and Shanghai can reach 2.8 percentage points of the national GDP. This is an estimate of the loss of migrant populations. For the destruction of suburbanized communities and resorts under the name of “demolition of illegal building”, if only 1/100, considering the investment multiplier and currency multiplier, will further reduce GDP by about 46.8 billion yuan, accounting for 1.7% of Beijing’s GDP (2017). If we take into account the intimidating effect of this practice on other “small property rights” communities and the stopping effect on Beijing’s suburbanization, the losses can not be calculated. Judging from the national influence of Beijing, the large-scale “demolition” movement in Beijing will cause other cities to follow suit, and form a national trend of anti-urbanization, which will lead to a sluggish and possibly declining economy in China. This will only make matters worse.

In the end, we see that the central government has realized the danger of such “demolition of illegal building.” As early as 2010, the State Council’s “Emergency Notice of the General Office of the State Council on Further Strict Management of Land Acquisition and Demolition and Effectively Safeguarding the Legal Rights and Interests of the Masses” stipulated that “To those who carry out with brutal means such as water cuts, power outages, and traffic blockages, and ‘forcible demolition’ and ‘surprising demolition’ and other methods of compulsory demolition, we must strictly investigate the responsibilities of the responsible units and responsible persons. To those who cause casualties or severe property losses due to violent demolition and land requisition … we must severely punish these criminals according to law ” “For those who seriously use public security police to participate in compulsory land requisition and removal, which will cause serious consequences, the party and government leaders must be held seriously accountable.” In 2019, the State Council also emphasized that “it should not demolish illegal buildings with one-size-fits-all way.” However, it seemed that only the stairs rang and no one came down. I did not expect that the illegal “demolition” actions of local governments were even more unscrupulous. Why is that? I suggest that the central government immediately and vigorously stop the so-called “demolition of illegal building”, and adopt a thunderbolt meature on the local governments who demolish forcedly. One of the best ways is to remove a county party secretary who has the most “achievements” in “demolition of illegal building” and file a public prosecution for “grave violations of property rights”. This is certainly not an unjustified punishment for the county party secretary. Because as mentioned earlier, if he can really “demolish illegal building”, it means that he has ignored and violated the Constitution and related laws; if he has done so a lot, it means that he has repeatedly ignored and violated the Constitution and laws; removing him and bring up isn’t public prosecution the most basic response of a country ruled by law?

In Fivewoods Studio on March 12, 2020

Author: flourishflood

Economist, Confucianist

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