Three Major Cities Announce Massive New Wave of Urban Relocations

November 22, 2004

Since early November, domestic Chinese sources have reported on a new wave of large-scale relocations planned by city officials in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an.

  • According to a November 18 article in the South China Morning Post, Shanghai will relocate nearly 800,000 inner-city residents to the suburbs over the next six years to ease strains on public infrastructure and make way for the 2010 World Expo. The article cites municipal officials as its source.
  • On November 3, the China Daily reported that Xi’an plans to relocate 170,000 residents, or 40% of the inner-city population, to locations outside of the old city wall. Officials cite overcrowding and the need to protect Xi’an’s cultural heritage as the reasons.
  • According to articles in Xinhua (11/12) and China Daily (11/8), Beijing’s new municipal plan calls for the city to “evacuate” downtown residents to “satellite towns” to promote development and to relieve the strain on resources in central districts. Earlier this year, Beijing officials acknowledged that more than 400,000 households have been relocated since 1991.

Beijing and Shanghai, in particular, have been the sites of numerous protests and disputes related to demolitions and relocations. The announcements of new relocations come despite a June 6 State Council circular calling on local governments to reduce the total area subject to relocations and, in areas where forced relocation disputes are “relatively concentrated,” to halt relocations and resolve existing problems (translation available here). For additional information on demolition and relocation in China, click here.