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Lectures to help residents get justice

Updated: 2011-02-17 07:03

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Residents of this city can now attend legal lectures and counseling to learn how to obtain just compensation from developers who expropriate their land and force them to move.

Since 2010, more than 1,000 Shanghai residents, who seek to protect their interests in forced relocations, have attended the events.

The lectures, organized by the Shanghai Tianyi Law Firm and Real Estate Times, consist of two parts.

The first is an hour-long presentation in which lawyers speak about legal matters relevant to land expropriation and relocation, such as the new regulations governing both the relocation of private citizens and the division of the compensation that developers pay to family members.

The second, also lasting an hour, consists of face-to-face counseling sessions that concentrate on particular cases.

The topics discussed are always subjects of controversy, said Zhang Shanmei, director of the law firm.

Most of the cases either concern questions over compensation paid to residents who have been forced to move or over the best way to divide such compensation money among members of a family, Zhang said.

In recent years, reports have grown increasingly common of residents' filing lawsuits after accusing developers of not offering enough in return for a forced move. Also on the rise has been the frequency of disputes in which family members turn against each other while fighting for a bigger piece of a developer's compensation money.

The lectures are meant to help residents understand new regulations governing relocations, demolitions and land expropriations, while reducing the chances of conflicts breaking out among the parties involved, said Chen Yunfang, coordinator of the lecture.

"The forum has been quite helpful," said Yu Xiulan, a residents from Hongkou district. "I claimed more than 127,000 yuan ($19,265) in compensation for the demolition of my house using what I learned from the lawyers."

Residents who haven't suffered the hardship of a forced move also come to the forums to learn about difficulties they might encounter during a future relocation.

"I have come to the forum four times since October," said Zhou Zhengyao, a resident of Yangpu district.

"I hope what I've learned can help me divide the money fairly among my family, since my home is likely to be demolished next year."

According to the municipality's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), about 180,000 households are scheduled to be moved from 2011 to 2015 as a result of renovation projects that will affect more than 3.5 million square meters in Shanghai.

China Daily

(China Daily 02/17/2011 page4)


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