Fuzhou International Airport, Changle; expropriation of land for its construction; whether farmland was expropriated; when land was expropriated; how much land was expropriated; whether compensation was paid; whether compensation payments were taxed by local governments; whether other land was assigned; exact location of the airport; date that construction commenced and date of completion; whether there were any demonstrations related to the building of the airport and expropriation of land; the present status of the airport; relevant legal provisions regarding expropriation and compensation [CHN33504.E]

Fuzhou International Airport, Changle: Construction History

According to an article appearing in the online edition of China Aero Information, the airport project was approved in 1992, construction commenced in 1994 and the airport opened in June 1997 (Oct. 1999). Xinhua reported that the airport was "close to completion" in January 1997 (1 Jan. 1997) and that successful test flights were carried out at the airport later the same month (ibid. 21 Jan. 1997). Muzi Dailynews, citing the China News Service (CNS), reported that the airport was officially opened on 28 June 1997 and reported that it was "the mainland's first modern, large scale airport to be solely financed by local government" (28 June 1997). However, according to an article concerning the deregulation of airport investment in China, Fuzhou International Airport was, as of December 1992, the only airport in China "financed by 'foreign' interests" having "received a Taiwanese investment of RMB2.2 billion Yuan [CDN$387 million (Bloomberg Online 6 Jan. 2000)], and contracted with a Singapore firm for its design" (Wang May-June 1994). According to the China and Asia Airports and Airlines Directory, investors in the airport project included a joint venture between the Fujian provincial government and Hume Industries of Malaysia (n.d.).

Additional infrastructure projects associated with the airport include the construction of the Qingzhou Minjiang River Bridge and a "Special Purpose Highway" with a total length of 40.5 km, being undertaken jointly by the Fuzhou Changle International Airport Construction Co. and the Fujian Planning Commission (Briefing n.d.). The announcement of these projects also states that investors may also be eligible to receive land as compensation in lieu of other forms of return on investment (ibid.). On 30 July 1997 the "Fuzhou Changle International Airport Corporation" announced that it was seeking overseas investors to develop a 37 square kilometre around the airport (Asia Pulse 30 July 1997).

Dr. Michael Szonyi, a professor of history at the University of Toronto, who has undertaken extensive field research in Fuzhou and Changle, has received anecdotal information to the effect that people were bitter about the expropriation and compensation process, and that it was rumoured that extensive land speculation had occurred (5 Jan. 2000).

No specific information regarding the expropriation of land for the airport, the original use of the lands expropriated, the specific location of the airport or whether there were any demonstrations related to the building of the airport and expropriation of land could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Legal provisions

The Aviation Law of the People's Republic of China, was approved by the National People's Congress on 30 October 1995 (Xinhua 31 Oct. 1995a). Article 59 of the law, which deals with compensation, states:

Article 59. Prior to the release of public notices regarding the construction or expansion of a civil airport, all buildings, structures, trees, lights, and other obstructive objects which exist within the airport clearance protective areas and which may affect air safety must be removed before a stipulated time limit. Compensation shall be granted over losses arising therefrom, or other remedial measures taken according to the law (Xinhua 31 Oct. 1995b).

The legal provisions for the compensation of farmland transferred to other uses are contained in the Land Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, which was revised in 1998 (Xinhua 29 Aug. 1998). According to Article 31 of the law:

Article 31. The state protects farmland and exercises strict control over the transformation of farmland into land not intended for cultivation. The state will practice a system under which compensation is made for the occupation and use of farmland (ibid.).

The legislative scheme for compensation for transferred farmland is described in Articles 47 through 49:

Article 47. Land taken over should be compensated according to its original uses.
The compensation for the requisitioned farmland includes land compensation, subsidies for resettlement, and compensation for the attachment and young crops in the fields. The land compensation is six to 10 times the average annual output value of the farmland three years before requisition. The subsidies for resettlement are calculated according to the number of rural population that has to be settled. This number of rural population is calculated on the basis of dividing the quantity of requisitioned farmland by the per capita possession of farmland in the unit before requisition. The standard of subsidies to a person is four to six times the average annual output value of the farmland three years before requisition. However, the highest subsidies for the requisitioned farmland per hectare should not exceed 15 times the average annual output value of the farmland three years before requisition.
The standards of land compensation and resettlement subsidies for other land should be set by the provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities with reference to the standards of land compensation and resettlement subsidies for the requisition of farmland (ibid.).
...
Article 48. After the plans on compensation and resettlement of land requisition are determined, the relevant local people's governments should publish them and listen to the opinion of the rural collective economic organizations and peasants whose land was taken over.
Article 49. The rural collective economic organizations should publish the revenue and expenditure of the compensation from the requisitioned land to their members and accept their supervision.
Seizing and embezzling the compensation and other funds obtained by the units from the requisitioned land is prohibited.

Further details regarding the transfer of land for infrastructure projects are provided in Article 44:

Using land for construction that involves the change from agricultural to construction purpose should go through the formalities of examination and approval for such change. Land used for the construction projects of road, pipeline, and large-sized infrastructure approved by the provincial, autonomous regional, and municipal people's governments and for the construction projects approved by the State Council, which involves the change from agricultural to construction purpose, should obtain approval from the State Council (ibid.).

However, Article 54 states:

When construction units want to use state-owned land, it should be acquired by way of transference or other forms of compensatory use. However, the following kinds of construction land can be acquired in the form of appropriation subject to the approval of the people's governments above county level according to law:
1) Land for government offices and military uses;
2) Land for urban infrastructure and welfare undertakings;
3) Land for key infrastructure facilities supported by the state such as energy resources, communications, water conservancy, and so on;
4) Other land stipulated by law and administrative regulations (ibid.).

No information regarding land administration law in effect prior to 1998 nor any further information concerning the legal regime and provisions impacting upon the expropriation of land for the construction of Fuzhou International Airport, Changle, could be found within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Response.

References


Asia Pulse. 30 July 1997. "China Project - Development of Area Around Airport." (NEXIS)

Bloomberg Online Currency Converter. 6 January 2000. http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/currency/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2000]

Briefing of the Construction of Qingzhou Minjiang River Bridge and Special Purpose Highway Matching Fuzhou Changle International Airport. (Briefing). n.d. http://www.china-window.com/Fujian_w/city/fuzhou/invest/jw/e-jiw-2.html [Accessed 5 Jan. 2000]

China Aero Information. October 1999. Zhi Xian. "Regional Aviation of Fujian Province (part 2)." http://www.iag.com.cn/magazine/others/cai/99-10/newpage2.html [Accessed 12 Dec. 1999]

China and Asia Airports and Airlines Directory. n.d. "China, Fujian Province, Airport Projects, CAAA Directory." http://user.hk.linkage.net/├Čnfoctr/fujair.htm [Accessed 30 Dec. 1999]

Muzi Dailynews. 28 June 1997. "Aiming Direct Link with Taiwan - Changle International Airport Opens." http://dailynews.muzi.com [Accessed 5 Jan. 2000]

Szonyi, Michael, Professor of History, University of Toronto. 5 January 2000. Telephone interview.

Xianping Wang. May-June 1994. ""Chinese Airports - Opening the Door." http://airportnet.org/depts/publications/airmags/am5694/china.htm [Accessed 30 Dec. 1999]

Xinhua [Beijing, in Chinese]. 29 August 1998. "PRC Land Administration Law." (FBIS-CHI-98-321 17. Nov. 1998/WNC)

Associated documents