The Beijing Times, a commercial spin-off of China’s official People’s Daily, reported recently that it has now been one full year since five scholars issued a proposal to the National People’s Congress for a review of China’s national Demolition Ordinance, hoping changes to the regulations might curb the rampant problem of unrestricted demolition and eviction by local officials seeking to make economic gains through development projects. Forced demolition and removal has become a source of broad discontent in Chinese society, and a number of recent cases have drawn national attention and outrage. The Beijing Times article said, however, that proposed changes to the Demolition Ordinance have met sharp resistance from local governments and other vested political interests, and a new ordinance has now become virtually impossible. In the following cartoon, posted by the Kunming-based studio Yuan Jiao Man’s Space (圆觉漫时空) to, tiny, inconsequential scholars, those presumably who appealed to the NPC, tug with all their might against a larger-than-life local official as they stand atop a book of proposed new regulations labeled “New Demolition and Removal Ordinance,” meant to restrain the practice of forced demolition and removal. The local official, seeming utterly unaffected, casually grips the rope between two fingers as he brandishes a huge mallet that reads “forced demolition and removal” and stands atop a “sycee,” the gold ingot currency of ancient China (symbolizing in this case both greedy self-interest and feudal backwardness).

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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