China, the Power of Government and Eminent Domain

Gillian Wong of the Associated Press reported on a lone, rural Chinese farmer that had resisted selling his house to the local government so a new road could be completed.  The photo shows a house sitting in the middle of an almost finished road with pavement surrounding it.

If that had been in the US, the house would have been gone long before the road was build—something Wong fails to mention is that this sort of thing happens in the US all the time and it started during the decades that the roads and highways spread across the US like a spider web.

In fact, local US governments do not need to wait for the owner of a house to agree to sell. It can force the owner to sell and then use the police/marshals to move him or her out using force if necessary.

I still remember reading about one incident in The Los Angeles Times that happened in Southern California during the craze to build freeways there.

The home owner was a combat veteran from World War II, Korea or Vietnam (I do not remember which war).  This vet refused to move out of his house even after the local government forced him to sell it.  He claimed he wasn’t being paid what he had invested in the house in improvements.

This American vet filled sandbags and stacked them against the walls of his house; he stocked up on canned foods, bullets, rifles and a gas mask along with a bullet-proof vest. No one was going to take his house away from him.

A swat team had to be called in, tear gas was used and the swat team broke into his house and swarmed him before he could shoot anyone. Then off to jail and court he went to be judged by a jury of his peers. I never did find out what the outcome of that trial was.

In the US, as states, cities and towns expand and improve roadways, sewer and power lines, communications and other system, local governments often secure or acquire access to private land. Without the government’s power to do so, the size and capability or public infrastructure would become inadequate to serve the needs of society (the people) and often in the US the estimated value of a property does not match, because the government uses a different method to determine value not based on what the owner spent on the property but based on the value of other properties in the same community based on an average.  To the government, the value of the property is an estimated value. To the owner, it may be every penny he or she invested in the property.  Source: Find

In the US, this has been called legalized theft and it has been debated for decades. The following source is one example of that debate:

The law is called Eminent Domain and it gives a government the power to buy private property for public use, usually with compensation to the owner.

Britannica Concise Encyclopedia says: “Government power to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent. Constitutional provisions in most countries, including the U.S. (in the 5th Amendment to the Constitution), require the payment of just compensation to the owner. As a power peculiar to sovereign authority and coupled with a duty to pay compensation, the concept was developed by such 17th-century natural-law jurists as Hugo Grotius and Samuel Pufendorf.”

Therefore, why is this incident in China worthy of media attention in the US, and I wonder if China’s media ever reported on similar incidents in America?

After all, they happen all the time and are often ignored by the American media because they are so common. If you doubt what I say, watch the three-part PBS program embedded in this post.

Discover Dr. Li’s illusive Memoires


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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3 Responses to China, the Power of Government and Eminent Domain

  1. merlin says:

    What should be reported on is how cookie crumbles. Back in the day of our own industrial revolution, numerous things happened. Child labor, the fire in the east coast factory that caused people to jump out the top floor to their death on pavement or by being impaled on the metal fence below. Go back farther into the past you have the Trail of Tears, which has faded into a primary school history book never to be brought to light again. The past is done, the present is flat, and the future is unknown.

    I’m surprised people are not focusing on the future, because we are at the peak. If we want to continue going up, we need to get back to our roots and keep building. If we continue this laziness of “I want the iphone 9 mom!” well sorry little susie China just embargoed that product. “I want a hamburger!” Sorry billy, Europe just threw an extra tax on that as they saw we are weakened and decided to kick us in revenge of the Revolutionary War. “Hey fred I’m heading over to the brew tonight wanna go?” No Ted, Germany took over the beer market making it expensive and Russia just stopped all shipments of vodka because of the Cold War. “Hey mommy why is there a cartoon of a Russian laughing at Mickey Mouse?” Oh dont worry sweetie, just the Russians are laughing their asses off at the fact that we armed a militia man in Afghanistan only to have him turn his rifles back on us smiling while abusing the Mickey logo in the process.

    I’d love to help the US back on it’s feet, but what’s this? I need about 50,000 capital to start a business? How many years do I need to slave away at Mcdonalds to do that? Uh…huh…so Mcdonalds is not hiring. Who is? OH!! That’s right. China is hiring white slaves to teach english! Hey, sing and dance to old kid songs, and they throw 2,000/month at me like it’s a handful of valueless pennies! Well give me a few years and I’ll try get my foot back in the door over there!

    • Are you angry? I haven’t heard how things are going over there with the teaching.

      “That’s right. China is hiring white slaves to teach English! Hey, sing and dance to old kid songs, and they throw 2,000/month at me like it’s a handful of valueless pennies!”

      Teaching in the US isn’t easy. Half of new teachers quit in the first three to five years due to the demands from parents and adminstrators, difficult kids and there are a lot of them, political agendas out to destroy the teacher unions and public schools.

      And it isn’t just in the US. I knew a teacher in Canada who told me similar stories. Then he went to Japan on some sort of teacher exchange program and he loved it and never wanted to leave. He said the Japanese kids are so disciplined, polite and hard working, but the hours are grueling. For one example: he said as a teacher he had to be the advisor for at least one after school club so he picked archery with real arrows. Imagine what young Chinese or any age American students would do shooting live arrows every afternoon without supervision.

      In Japan all he had to do was unlock the cabinet where the bows and arrows were kept and the president of that club (another kid) took the kids out and made sure they behaved while he stayed in the classroom correcting papers. In the US, someone would probably try to shoot an apple off another kids head, miss, kill the kid that had the apple on his head and a teacher that wasn’t with the kids supervising them would end up losing his or her teaching credential, get sued for every penny he or she would earn for the next thousand years and also be sent to prison for ten to twenty years. The kid that shot the arrow would get a few days suspensions, some counseling where the counselor would blame the teacher or the parents for the kids sociopathic tendencies and then put him on some drug to control it and calm down so he wouldn’t shoot up a theater full of people watching a movie (as long as he stayed on his meds).

      Oh, and the media would have a field day while the media would blame the teacher unions for protecting bad teachers. The parents would never be mentioned in the media and no politician would say anything about the parents because he or she might lose votes in the next election. After all, there are more parents than there are teachers. So f*** the teachers and their unions. They are all incompetent anyway (teachers that is) or every kid would grow up to be the next Steve Jobs to start an Apple Empire or the next Justin Beaver or NBA super star, have his or her own reality TV show earning millions, win Dancing With the Stars, the X-Factor, etc.

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