Friday, December 15, 2006

Beijing to raze 22 migrant villages for Olympics

Beijing plans to demolish 22 remaining 'urban villages', which are home mainly to poor migrants, in a six-month clean up before the 2008 Olympic Games. The 22 villages will be razed during a campaign to demolish 3.32 million square metres of 'illegal constructions' by the end of June, the Beijing Daily said.

The demolitions are part of Beijing's greening programme to 'create a better environment for the Olympic Games,' the report quoted the Beijing 2008 Environmental Construction Headquarters as saying.

Beijing officials have previously rejected rights groups' accusations that they are trying to force poor migrants out of the city before the Olympics. During the massive redevelopment of Beijing in the last 10 years, many residents have accused developers of resorting to violence to evict people unwilling to move. The Beijing government also aims to demolish illegal extensions to residential and commercial buildings, particularly in areas close to the city centre.