An Appeal to Commence Constitutional Review on
the Actions of Evicting Migrant Residents
and Administrative Documents of Beijing Municipal Government They Based On
The Standing Committee of National People’s Congress, Honorable Committee Members:
Ever since mid-November, 2017, vicious incidents of massive expelling migrant residents have been taking place in Daxing District, Changping District, Fengtai District and Chaoyang District in Beijing. Especially in Xihongmen Town of Daxing District and Dongxiaokou Town of Changping Distric, some people, in the name of the Beijing Municipal Government or its subsidiaries. cut off the supply of power and water, smashed doors and windows of houses, broke equipment of public utilities in residence, destroyed properties of the residents, demolished workshops and dormitories of private enterprises, and exposed tens of thousands of residents in the dark nights that were minus 5 degrees Celsius. Such actions are without any mercy of “How could I get thousands of thousands houses, covering all poor people under the sky”*, but dare to react against the goal, “people should have houses to reside in”. We believe such actions are against the constitutional principles of “the state respects and guarantees human rights” and “everyone is equal before the law”, and violated five constitutional rights of citizens as follows:
Article10. … Land in the rural and suburban areas is owned by collectives except for those portions which belong to the state in accordance with the law; housesites and privately farmed plots of cropland and hilly land are also owned by collectives.
Article11. … The State protects the lawful rights and interests of the non-public sectors of the economy such as the individual and private sectors of the economy.
Article13. Citizens’ lawful private property is inviolable.
Article38. The personal dignity of citizens of the People’s Republic of China is inviolable.
Article39. The residences of citizens of the People’s Republic of China are inviolable. Unlawful search of, or intrusion into, a citizen’s residence is prohibited.
In summary, the following five constitutional rights were violated: (1) land rights; (2) the rights of the individual and private sectors of the economy;(3) personal property rights; (4) the inviolability of human dignity; and (5) right of dwelling house.
The land on which these heinous actions were taken is in the category of rural collective-owned land. Rural residents have the contracted rights in due process of law to use, generate income from, and dispose of land plots. Rural residents have the rights to construct on the land for personal use or to rent out, and the tenants have the right to use the houses constructed on the land via rental contracts. It infringes the land use right to evict the tenants from the houses; and it infringes the land rights of the rural residents to break the tenancy contract, harm the income right and disposal right of the landowners.
It is an infringement of the lawful rights and interests of the individual business and private enterprises to close down shops and dissipate residents in Xihongmen Town; and to demolish workshops and dormitories of Yulong Clothes Companyin Dongxiaokou Town, and cut off the supply of power and water for the other affected area, which in effect interrupted businesses, broke the operating assets,and halted the execution of contracts.
It is an infringement to personal property rights when personal property was destroyed and the residents were evicted in the time limit which was too short to pack up unhurriedly in Xihongmen Town, Dongxiaokou Town, and other places in Beijing.
Marking the affected personnel as “low-end population” in some documents of the Beijing Municipal Government’s subordinates, evicting these people in an outrageous manner, and evicting actions themselves constitute a severe infringement to the personal dignity of the citizens.
It is an infringement to the residence rights when the power and water were cut off, houses were broken into, appliances were vandalized, and residents were enforced to leave in Xihongmen Town, Dongxiaokou Town, and other places in Beijing.
After the incidents, the Beijing Committee of Work Safety claimed there were no solid evidence of “evicting low-end population”, and all the controversial acts were to check and remove fire hazards. To understand it normally, this means the Beijing Municipal Government made such a claim that the Beijing Municipal Government and its subsidiary departments had not sent anyone to threaten the above-mentioned people, cut off the supply of power and water, break into residences, vandalize residences, or destroy properties. However, such acts took place. There is not a single person being stopped or held accountable for such undertakings. Therefore, whether or not the Beijing Municipal Government is directly involved in this heinous crime, if it does not call an end to or punish such criminal acts, it should be held accountable. According to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the constitutional rights of the citizens are the obligations of the government. Therefore, if the government fails to protect such rights, it is infringing them.
So far, those citizens who were affected in these incidents have not gotten any apologies or compensations, no one of them returned, or could return to their previous residences. The criminal acts led to one fact that is the residences could not be used, and the residents are evicted. In fact, mass evictions are still being undertaken. If a society fails to stop and punish such massive violations of civil rights of its citizens, such acts will only spill over to other parts of the country, leading to more harm. These acts have constituted violation to the affected residents’ constitutional rights. If not corrected, the constitutional rights of everyone in the country will in fact be infringed. The Constitution itself will also be severely weakened. If the Constitution is not defended, people’s trust in the Constitution is going to be destroyed. The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China promised to “promote the work of constitutional review”; and the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee promised that “any unconstitutional acts must be held accountable and corrected.” The massive eviction in Beijing is an unconstitutional act and should be corrected.
Article 67 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China stipulates that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress exercises the function and power to “supervise the Constitution’s enforcement”; Article 71 stipulates that “The National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee may, when they deem it necessary, appoint committees of inquiry into specific issues and adopt relevant resolutions in the light of their reports”; Article 41 stipulates that citizens “have the right to make to relevant State organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any State organ or functionary for violation of law or dereliction of duty”; while Article 99 of Legislation Law of the People's Republic of China stipulates that if a citizen who “deem that an administrative regulation, local decree… contravenes the Constitution or a national law”, she or he “may make a written proposal to the Standing Committee of National People's Congress for review”.
In this light, we as citizens of the People’s Republic of China, by the rights given to us by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Legislation Law of the People’s Republic of China, make a suggestion to the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress that a special investigation committee for the massive eviction of migrant residents in Beijing be set up to undertake investigations on the massive infringement of the citizens’ land rights, the lawful rights of individual businesses and private enterprises, the personal property rights, the rights to personal dignity, and the rights to residence by the Beijing Municipal Government since mid-November, 2017, and a constitutional review of the administrative documents issued by administrations of all the levels of the Beijing Municipal Government related to these acts.
In faith and good will, we the citizens,
JIANG Ping (Signature)
HE Weifang (Signature)
SHENG Hong (Signature)
XU Zhangrun (Signature)
JIANG Hao (Signature)
MO Shaoping (Signature)
DING Xikui (Signature)
QIN Hui (Signature)
December 19th, 2017
* This is from a poem, “A Song of the Thatched Cottage Broken by Autumn Wind”, written by DU Fu, a poet of Tang Dynasty.
Translated from 《对北京市政府驱赶外来居民的行动及其依据的行政文件提请合宪性审查》