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Olympic Relocation Claims Refuted
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Officials yesterday rejected as "groundless" allegations by international human rights groups that 1.5 million local people have been forced out of their homes in Beijing city to make way for Olympic venues.

Sui Zhenjiang, director of the Beijing municipal construction committee (BMCC), told a news briefing that only 6,037 households were relocated for the construction of the Games venues since 2002.

The relocation took place at only a few sites - the National Stadium, the National Aquatics Centre and the Wukesong Indoor Stadium - as most of the venues are in areas which are not inhabited.

Sun stressed that all affected people were provided housing - of similar or larger size - with transport facilities close by, or compensation in lieu.

According to a working report of BMCC, 3 million sq m of apartment space has been provided to people relocated because of Olympic venue construction.

Besides, a strict project license system has been established to regulate the demolition and resettlement.

Olympic-related construction is only a part of the city's fast urbanization in the past decade.

About 40,000 households are being relocated and compensated each year due to urban construction and renovation.

(China Daily August 16, 2007)

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