China’s wholesale housing destruction of its older neighbourhoods is slowing, with housing demolitions this year falling by more than half compared with 2003, Construction Minister Wang Guangtao
said on Monday. Speaking at the annual two-day National Construction Work Conference in Beijing, Wang said total demolitions in 2005 will not rise above this year’s level, Xinhua News Agency reported. But he gave no concrete figures on the number of demolitions.
Illegal destruction of homes has become a source of urban discontent, with ousted householders often fighting pitched battles with authorities and construction companies trying to evict them
from the path of new housing developments. ]One human rights group says up to 300,000 people have been evicted in Beijing alone to make way for projects related to the 2008 Olympic Games.
Over the past year, Wang said, authorities had investigated and corrected more than 30 illegal housing demolitions, The marked cutback in housing demolition is also regarded by observers as an effective move to rein in the economy, especially the steel, cement and aluminium sectors, which grew by 76.6 per cent, 55.3 per cent and 38 per cent, respectively, in the first five months of 2004.