The Gov’s Side of the Story

So the meeting between the local government officials of Three God’s Village and the villagers took place today at 10am. The meeting was held in a bed and breakfast inn, one of the largest, across from the local Party Secretary’s house. WE sat under peach tree in bamboo chairs as the officials explained what was going on.

The mad land grab I described in earlier posts — in which the gov gives land to appease the peasants, then slowly takes it back — is still in full effect. In fact, the farmers of Three God’s mentioned 1978 several times, in reference to Deng Xiao Ping’s reversal of the past 20 years, when he gave land back to the peasants.

The government is taking the land back and consolidating it under one owner (the State) so it can be developed according to a central plan. With peasants scattered across the land, the gov has to negotiate with each and every one before they decide on a course of action.

With high rise buildings closing in on Three God’s from all sides, the local gov decided it was time to get with the program.

The plan is to get the peasants to move out for two years, while the gov hands the land over to developers. Developers will build high rises for the peasants that once lived here and another developer — run by a consortium of artist/entrepreneurs — will turn the rest of the land into a modern park area with houses and workshops designed for artists from Chengdu and the rest of China (and the rest of the world).

The artist developer wants to have an incubator from which things like “Harry Potter” might emerge. The regular developer wants a big building full of tenants.

The peasants have two choices:

accept roughly 8000USD over two years and at the end of this period get 30m2 per person (usually 90m2) which is enough for 2 small apts in the high rise building


roughly 100,000USD cash and that’s that.

I gave my speech. Everybody clapped. Then it quickly went to furious haggling between the peasants and the officials about exactly hw much money is coming to whom, when …

the numbers I have above are, naturally, subject to change without notice.

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Sascha Matuszak

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