CPIFC Briefing Series*    Oct. 20, 2018

The People are Breaking the Laws, The Government Officials are Committing Crimes, Where’s the Exit?
by Sun Dawu  (Chairman of Supervisory Board of Hebei Dawu Group, China)

(This article is recommended by Chinese Entrepreneurs Rights Association)

On July 25, 2018, a 77,000-square meter senior nursing homes in the small town of Dawu Kangyang, were confiscated by the Xushui District Land Bureau. The account is that the buildings were built without approval, an illegal occupation of land. We were not only given a deadline to remove the buildings and had of hundreds of millions of yuan’s worth of property confiscated, we also had to accept high fines.

1. Strange Punishment

The Ecological Center of Nursing Homes of Dawu Group was approved in 2015. In 2016, the district chief, the executive deputy district chief and the deputy district chief in charge of land of Xushui district, together made official instructions, declaring there was “consent, support from all departments, construction according to procedure.” In February, 2017, Xushui District Land Bureau participated in the completion of the project site selection and mapping.

Afterwards, according to the request of Xushui District Government and Land Bureau, we paid 4,151,250 yuan of use fees for the land. More than two years have passed, the buildings for the nursing homes are almost completed, but the Xushui District Land Bureau has given us a penalty decision: “without approval, illegally occupying land, shall be confiscated.”

The Dawu Kangyang Nursing Home project is one of the first batch of “Creative Featured Towns,” named by the municipal party committee and municipal government of Baoding. It is a follow up project of the AAA class of hospitals, and a public welfare cause for the benefit of society.

What I can’t understand is that, if the district chief of Xushui Government is the legal representative of the district government, why do the government’s official instructions not count as approval? Why did the government charge us the use fees for the land if it was illegal use of land? The land was planned for construction use, and it is indeed a healthcare project in line with the direction of the country’s development, why can’t be approved?

Xushui District Land Bureau, in the name of “Central Inspection Group’s supervision and inspection, Hebei Provence Land Department’s supervision,” mobilized the police chief of Xushui District Public Security Bureau, the chief justice of Xushui District Court and the chief procurator of Xushui District Procuratorate, to discuss about the chairman and president of Dawu Group under camera, threatened with, “land problems exceeding 5 mu, can be arrested.” This is horrible!

We filed an administrative review and the district government upheld the decision of the District Land Bureau. Now we brought the lawsuit to the Administrative Court. However, we feel that the court will also rule us out, because some leaders have warned us that if the court and the government “jointly handle a case”, the court will rule as it says! So there is slim hope that our administrative case will win.

We have been through the formalities for three years, but we have failed to complete the procedures, confiscating our property and saying that we have illegally occupied the land and built it without approval. How can anyone make sense of this?

2. The Rats

Under the banner of “Central Inspection Group’s supervision and inspection, Hebei Province Land Department’s supervision,” Xushui District Land Bureau confiscated the property of Dawu Group. Is this the intention of the central government leaders? I don’t believe such nonsense. At the root of this is just one single person who is the managing director of Xushui District Land Bureau. We made a public report on the internet with real names, “strongly request the Discipline Inspection Commission to investigate this managing director of Land Bureau.” It’s almost been one month, but it seems no one cares!

The rats are often exposed to hold important positions, worth tens of millions of dollars. Where do their properties come from? From our real name reported cases of the managing director of Land Bureau, people should be able to see the clues. Villains are the “black and white impermance” of the private enterprises. One or two rats can stifle a business supporting thousands of people’s lives.

3. Fight to Survive in a tight corner

Dawu Group was founded in 1984. At that time, it was located is a wasteland, known as “suffocating knot bumps.” There are no mountains, nor water to rely on. It can be said to have no resources at all. From raising 10,00 chickens and 50 pigs to start with, it has developed into to today’s Dawu Group with 6,000-plus employees and over 10,000 students and faculty members.

The 2003 event gave birth to the “private enterprise constitutional system,” and began in 2004. We offered free Medicare, built the best hospitals in the countryside, and shared prosperity. We pay taxes actively and operate in accordance with the law. We run enterprises like this, but our top executive members had to be invited for tea by the police, procuratorate and the court, and even bear the risk of being arrested.

Dawu Group survived through tough years. It was a bitter history of more than 30 years with blood and tears from more than 6,000 peasants. For so many years, not only we have not received any loan, the government has never given us one inch of legitimate land, nor did we elect a member of the People’s Congress above the township level. Dawu Group has three party branches, but never recruited a new party member. Even when two terms of our chairman of the board had actively applied for admission to the party for more than a decade, but no attention has been paid to them.

If the central government leadership said it wants to “solve practical problems,” then, please start with the Dawu Group!

4. Where is the Exit?

“Governing the country by virtue,” I thought that is the business of the saints and intellectuals. They educate people with “benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, kindness, courtesy and thrift…” do the common people understand? Corrupt officials often speak of “governing the country by virtue.” Their mouths are full of words of “having integrity and working in the interest of the public,” and of being “benevolent and moral,” but in truth they are not clean.

I also thought that “rule by law” is a matter for the government and officials. The officials understood the law, but the use of it is pretentious. “If they want to add to the people’s sin, what’s the trouble?” Those who broke through the sieges and interceptions to petition in Beijing for their grievances, which did not have petitioned at the local governments and courts before?

In the end, I think, the common people would only accept the reasoning of “truth and justice.” Ancient people said, “being reasonable may thrive all over the world, being unreasonable may not leave home for one inch.” Now, in some officials’ views, the people who insist on reasoning for “truth and justice” are the troublemakers. The people care about the truth and justice while the officials only care about ruling. But their ruling is not based on truth and justice, and both sides diametrically in conflict. The people are trying to create chaos and capitalize on it, but the officials are taking pains to keep stability at any expense of the people. They are not in the same boat.

I was frightened by the land problem for the nursing homes. Some people say that all private entrepreneurs are on the way to prison, that not one may have a good end. However, most “charges” against them are false. I don’t want to emigrate abroad, nor move to anywhere, but I don’t know where the exist is for private enterprises.

Looking at the trend of the country, I may be optimistic. I may choose to trust the government, but the reality is so absurd and cruel. Helpless, the executive team of Dawu Group has reached a consensus: “stop investment, defer development.” If the government continues to press us, we hope that the government will send a working group to take over the business, like they did in 2003, or we will dismiss ourselves. Let the 6,000 workers to ask the government for their payrolls.

Alas! The people are breaking the laws, the officials are committing crimes! Who can tell me, how can private enterprises survive? Where is the exist to the future?

* Citizen Power Initiatives for China’s research arm Citizen Power Institute publishes CPIFC Briefing Series and CPIFC Monograph Series. The former are short essays or succinct scholarly articles that spontaneously reflect the realities of China while the latter are research reports on China’s politics, economics, culture, ethnicity, religion, civil society, human rights and strategies for its transition to democracy.