15 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y J. 599 (2006)
Trading the People's Homes for the People's Olympics: The Property Regime in China

handle is hein.journals/pacrimlp15 and id is 607 raw text is: Copyright © 2006 Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal Association

TRADING THE PEOPLE'S HOMES FOR THE PEOPLE'S
OLYMPICS: THE PROPERTY REGIME IN CHINA
Theresa H. Wangt
Abstract:  China is under increasing international scrutiny as the country's
economic growth launches the previously isolated nation onto the world stage. As the
national wealth increases at a record rate, the government is constantly modifying
strategies to ensure its economic stability. In response to this nearly unmanageable
growth, entire Chinese cities are remodeled and progressively more privatized, while
urban dwellers are evicted from their homes in the name of economic development.
These urban land acquisitions often occur with little or no compensation, while private
developers reap the economic benefits. These policies follow a pattern of development
replayed throughout history, notably in the nineteenth-century United States. This
Comment focuses on these similarities, explores the fundamental differences between the
American past and the Chinese present regarding property rights, acknowledges the
improbability of China's adopting Western models of governance wholesale, and
ultimately argues the national government should reform its policies on urban
requisitions to include viable venues of just compensation for victims of forced evictions.
I.     INTRODUCTION
In 2000, Beijing finally won a long, hard-fought battle to be the host
city for the 2008 Olympics.' The streets of the city filled with jubilation and
national pride as thousands of people flocked to Tiananmen Square-the
once infamous plaza became a center of celebration.2 While the citizens
rejoiced, the Chinese government immediately began preparations to build
an Olympic project unprecedented in modern history. As a catalyst for the
modernization of Beijing, the government cleared miles of residential land
for new complexes and infrastructure in preparation for the critical eyes of
the  international community.            These     actions are    attracting   worldwide
t   University of Washington School of Law, J.D. expected 2007. The author would like to thank
Professor Zang for his tireless enthusiasm, assistance, and invaluable advice at every stage of this Comment,
the editorial staff at the Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, without whom this Comment would have been
impossible, and of course, her family and friends for their support.
I   Melinda Liu, Games and Grievances: When Officials Dreamed Up Catchphrases Like 'The
People's Olympics' Who Knew the Public Would Take the Words Seriously?, NEWSWEEK, May 9, 2005, at
46.
2   Lin Ting Li, 2008 Olympics, HARV. INT'L REV., April 1, 2005.
3   Alan Abrahanson, Built in Commitment; Beijing Has Become a Huge Construction Site in Order
to Stage the 2008 Olympics, L.A. TIMES, July 14, 2005, at D.5.
4   Patrick A. Randolph, Professor, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Statement to the
Congressional- Executive Commission on China Issues Roundtable: Property Seizures in China: Politics,
Law, and Protest (February 3, 2003) available at http://cecc.gov/pages/roundtables/062104/Randolph.php.

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