Olympic Evictions

The Los Angeles Times has reported on the bulldozing of Beijing¡¯s petitioners village, framing the issue as an attempt to ¡°scatter the community of ¡®troublemakers¡¯ in advance of next month's Communist Party Congress and to remove an eyesore before the 2008 Summer Olympics.¡±

While Beijing has generally moved to stifle dissent in advance of the Olympics, housing prices have risen dramatically over the last few years in Beijing¡¯s white hot property market ¨C not only in anticipation of the Olympics, but also as a natural result of economic growth. Thus, while the bulldozing of the petitioners¡¯ village may in part be politically motivated as the LA Times article implies, it can also be viewed as an expected result of ever-increasing property demand in Beijing.

The 2008 Summer Olympics will impact the housing situations of far more than those living in the petitioners¡¯ village. Reuters reports that, as a whole, approximately 1.5 million people will be evicted during the period leading up to the Olympics. Large scale evictions are not unique to the Beijing Olympics, however. Outside of Beijing, the Olympic games have displaced over two million people over the last 20 years, with a disproportionate number of evictions impacting the poor, homeless, or minorities.

Government officials in China state that persons displaced for recent housing developments have been relocated, not evicted.



1 Comment

  • 1.Pauline  |  September 19, 2007, 2:26 pm

    It's worth pointing out that I acknowledge the large disparity in evictions between other countries and China. However, I believe that evictions for the Olympics are evictions for the Olympics no matter what, and those in Atlanta, Sydney, et. al and particularly Vancouver and London (whose poor residents are already facing evictions as well) cannot claim higher moral ground from which to criticize Beijing.

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