The second round of public opinion solicitation on a government document for the first time indicates the caution and importance the government has attached to the new regulations on the requisition of and compensation for buildings on State-owned land.
It is definitely good that the new regulations ban forced relocation by cutting off utilities and excludes the construction enterprises from relocations and demolitions. What is also noteworthy is the specific definition of projects of public interest.
These are important because most of the forced demolition cases, some even carried out with violence, are directly related to the interests of the construction companies or real estate developers. For public interest projects, residents have the obligation to abide by the relocation, but for the commercial projects, residents have the right to sit at the negotiating table to defend their lawful interests.
On Monday, in the name of Constitution and Administrative Law Center of Peking University, some scholars presented their opinions and suggestions to the State Council.
As legal experts, their suggestions will help make the regulations balance public and individual interests.
One of the suggestions requires that the disclosure of the requisition and compensation result be changed to make the entire process transparent. This is because those whose houses are requisitioned have the right to know why the requisition is necessary and why the compensation scheme is made in such a manner.
Another suggestion says that a new clause should be added to the first article of the eighth clause to make sure that the requisition of, and compensation for, houses in non-public interest projects should be negotiated on a voluntary and fair basis. Another suggestion for the same clause is that non-public interest projects should never be constructed on the land requisitioned for public interest projects.
All these suggestions need to be carefully deliberated by the drafters and experts concerned before the regulations are published and take effect. Even if some of the suggestions are not accepted for one reason or another, the relevant department under the State Council needs to give a detailed explanation of why not.
As these regulations are of great concern to the interest of millions of residents, the department and experts responsible for their drafting need to display their inclusiveness in the adoption of public opinions. They also need to weigh the interests of not just individuals and the public but also enterprises.
The new stipulation that illegal constructions are not entitled to compensation is good as it will prevent some residents from building provisional houses before their homes are requisitioned for illegal profits.