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HRIC August Take Action: Support the Right to Housing in China and Say "No" to Forced Evictions

August 1, 2008


As the Chinese government welcomes athletes and spectators from around the world to Beijing, beautified with a staggering sum of $42 billion, the city is also leaving behind a trail of wrecked homes and evicted residents with inadequate or no compensation for their lost properties.

Even as the whole world marvels at the dramatic transformation of Beijing, with its impressive and celebrated new architecture, we should not forget those who were made to sacrifice their homes to make this possible.
— Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC

"Even as the whole world marvels at the dramatic transformation of Beijing, with its impressive and celebrated new architecture, we should not forget those who were made to sacrifice their homes to make this possible," said Human Rights in China Executive Director Sharon Hom. "As China aspires to be a responsible stakeholder in the international community, we should remind its leaders that the right to housing is intrinsic to a well-functioning civil society."

This month, Human Rights in China highlights the case of 76-year old Shuang Shuying (双淑英). (http://www.ir2008.org) Shuang, an evictions petitioner, house church activist, and outspoken opponent of the Reeducation-Through-Labor (RTL) system, is currently serving a two-year term as the oldest inmate in Beijing Women's Prison for "intentional damage of public and private property."

As China aspires to be a responsible stakeholder in the international community, we should remind its leaders that the right to housing is intrinsic to a well-functioning civil society.
— Sharon Hom, Executive Director of HRIC

In 2002, Shuang saw her home in Beijing demolished to make way for Olympics redevelopment. Having to relocate eight times since, she and her family are among the estimated 3.7 million people who have been forcibly evicted throughout China in the past decade for the sake of development. When she petitioned the government for compensation, she was beaten and detained. As she languishes in prison after protesting her son's detention, her family has suffered repeated harassment. Most recently, on July 2, 2008, her 88-year-old husband, Hua Zaichen, and other family members were tossed out of their home after police forced open their door with an 18 pound iron. In a letter to Human Rights in China, Hua said,

I lay on the ground, wet with rain from that evening, huddled in my quilt. I waited for dawn, hoping that China's dawn would come more quickly.

Human Rights in China's online resources relating to Shuang's case include her full profile, information about evictions in China, petitioners in China, and ideas about what you can do.

In the Incorporating Responsibility 2008 Olympics Campaign (http://www.ir2008.org), Human Rights in China has critically addressed some of the human rights challenges that governments, corporations, and other members of the international community need to engage more effectively.

Over the past eight months, Human Rights in China has highlighted the following cases and the human rights challenges related to their detentions:

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