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Partial victory in demolition fight
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-01-27 10:48

Artists in Chaoyang district's Creative Zhengyang Art Zone are considering moving out after the local government allegedly agreed to pay 5 million yuan in compensation on Sunday, an artist from the area said Tuesday.

The 008 area within the 798 art zone in Chaoyang district is demolished on Monday. [China Daily]

"Although the government asked us to relocate before Spring Festival, it is a partial victory since they made a financial compromise," Zhang Wei, a sculptor who moved to Jinzhai village in Beijing's northeastern suburbs in 2007, told METRO Tuesday.

However, an employee of the publicity department of Jinzhai village government declined to confirm the possible compensation Tuesday, saying it "is not quite clear". Zhang said the future of the zone was bleak.

"The current situation here makes it impossible for us to resume our work," he said.

The government's demolition plan cut the supply of electricity, water and heat to all the artist studios in December last year, without any promise of compensation.

Zhang remains hopeful that the government might make a U-turn in its attitude.

"Two delegates of the Beijing municipal people's congress spoke up for us recently. They talked with the local authority to ask them to stop the demolition. In addition, the local authority saw the impact of events we held recently," he said.

Following the news of an upcoming demolition, the artists set up a series of activities called "Warm Winter" to display their resolution against demolition.

At their third exhibition last Thursday, famous artists such as Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaodong showed up to express support.

Despite the positive response, Zhao Yong, a Henan migrant worker who was hired by the artists as a doorkeeper to the art district, said he had not witnessed any of the 50 or so households - with nearly 70 artists - move out yet.

"Since we have not received the compensation nor discussed how to split the money, it is too early to say when and how we will go," Zhang said.

In addition to Creative Zhengyang, at least nine other art districts in Chaoyang district have been earmarked for demolition - including Dongying, 008, Xiedaoxi, Beigao and Suojiacun.

The demolitions are expected to affect around 1,000 artists in the capital.

On Monday morning, the 008 International Art Zone was bulldozed by a demolition team of 50 people. Some artists' studios were destroyed, according to Xiao Ge, an artist from Dongying who participated in the "Warm Winter" project.

Speaking with METRO Tuesday, she said she was happy to hear that the artists in Creative Zhengyang had achieved a "small victory".

Ge hoped those artists would continue to support other struggling artists rather than leave with compensation.

"We still need to work together to find a solution for everyone," she said.

Source:China Daily 
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