Uniting in Times of Crisis
China: Ecovillage Under Threat
In this very moment, the Chinese Ecovillage 'The Second Home of Lifechanyuan', is being attacked and threatened by local authorities and vandals. They ask international friends and GEN for support and solidarity. GEN has set up a petition to the Chinese president to protect the ecovillage and contacted all the GENOA countries to support the case. We also called lawyers for help. Second Home is fighting for their right to exist. Last month Second Home united with Konohana Family (Japan) to become a big family.
The residents of Second Home ecovillage near Chuxiong, Yunnan province in China have suffered persistent vandal attacks and threats by local authorities since March. This branch had to be closed. Residents have sought refuge within sister ecovillage sites in Anning and Lincang cities also in Yunnan province, although the two other sites are now also being targeted by local authorities for closure.
'The Second Home of Lifechanyuan' ecovillage was established in June 2009 at the three sites. The community has a total of 150 members, the oldest being 84 and the youngest, 5 years old. The Second Home was investigated by the Public Security Bureau from Chuxiong city on 13 June 2012, but that investigation failed to turn up any violations and freed the ecovillage from any accusations of misconduct.
However, on 6 March 2013, Second Home was notified verbally by the local Village Committee that the government was going to reclaim the land that the ecovillage site occupied, because local villagers did not have enough land on which to live. The ecovillage agreed to follow any formal decision but no formal written notice was ever presented.
Troubles began in April 2013, when the Chuxiong site - located in the mountainous suburb of the city - received notice from the local Village Committee that the government was going to take over the land the community had leased, even though no written governmental documents or notices were shown by the Village Committee.
The compensation offered by the Village Committee for the roads and buildings was too small to cover the funds invested on the project, and the ecovillagers refused to leave. On April 25, 2013, the road leading to the site was dug up and damaged, and the power and telephone cables were cut. Then, on 17 May the gate wall was pulled down.
In early November 2013, Village Committee representatives (lacking identification), and the local government reportedly sent 40 officers from the Forest Security Bureau, City Affairs Bureau, Population and Family Planning Commission, Land Resource Management Bureau, City Building Bureau, and the Public Security Bureau, to conduct a large-scale investigation.
The ecovillagers were forced to cancel the lease contract and leave the place within 10 days. The representatives told the ecovillagers that the planned visit of Ms Michiyo Furuhashi, President of Global Ecovillage Network of Asia and Oceania (GENOA), should be cancelled. Residents were also reportedly informed that the other two ecovillage locations would share the same fate as the first, within 3-4 months. On 10 November, residents of the Chuxiong site began to pack up and disperse.
The Second Home ecovillagers contacted the International Board of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), seeking help. The board immediately approved assistance to support the plight of the community, including the launch of a global petition, requesting the President and Central Government of China to intervene in the apparent misuse of authority by local officials.
During the four and a half years since the establishment of the community, The Second Home of Lifechanyaun - with its three sites - has become a model of ecological living, being financially independent and having good relations with its neighbours. It has hosted visitors from 15 countries including France, India, USA, Germany, Belgium, Malaysia, UK, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and Italy.
The Second Home community - lacking marriages, nuclear families, personal property, and paid employees - does not fit well within the traditional cultural patterns of Yunnan province. With a community that provides meals, housing, transportation, health care, care for children and the elderly, and funeral services, Second Home is like a big family. Unfortunately, this has obviously been perceived as a threat by local authorities.
The Second Home of Lifechanyuan in China and Konohana Family in Japan United Into a Big Family
On Nov 11, 2013, as a symbol of harmonizing the East-Asian countries that are ethnic brothers and sisters, New Oasis for Life - the Second Home of Lifechanyuan (hereafter referred as the Second Home) in China, and Konohana Family in Japan have united as one big family.
Konohana Family was established in 1994, and has been developing into a very successful and well-known community around the world. Now the Second Home has become the Chinese branch of Konohana Family, and Konohana Family has become the 5th branch of the Second Home. This is a first great step towards realizing the beautiful ideal of creating a united and harmonious world that has always been a dream of human beings.
Before the two communities became ONE, we had deep communications and reconfirmed the similarities with each other in the aspects of core values and sustainability development. This April, Michiyo Furnhashi in Konohana Family found the Second Home on 'GEN sites' and this is how the connection began. In July, one of the members of Second Home visited Konohana Family as an exchange member to have a full real life experience. She stayed there for one and a half months. After that, Michiyo Furnhashi visited the Second Home in November for two weeks. She had deep conversations with the founder of the Second Home Xuefeng and they have reached high resonance with each other.
The Core values of this big community are: Revere the Greatest Creator, Revere Life, Revere Nature, and create a system in which human beings, nature and society are able to coexist harmoniously, and become a model for all human beings. We will explore new paths in the areas of building an ecological civilization and sustainable living. Therefore, we identify our lifestyle as highly civilized and absolutely communal.
“Before cultivating fields, cultivate the soul”
The top priorities of this big community are to purify and beautify each member’s soul, and to achieve high levels of self-sufficiency and sustainability. However, the most important thing is not the interests of our individual nations. Instead, we will consider first the interests of all humanity; this will be our main focus. We will continue to strive to unite over a thousand communities in the world into a big international family to finally realize the dream of “One World, One Family”.
Here is the most current information directly from Second Home:
- "We found the whole thing is related to a vice governor of Yunnan Province by recognizing his face on internet. (He visited our 3rd branch in January but denied he’s from government)
- After we announced the above through internet to the public yesterday, our three Chinese websites were banned last night. (The intranet and English website are still ok)
- Yesterday, (18th of December) in Lincang branch, another main water pipe buried deep under the ground were dug up and cut into 34 parts.
- A few public interest lawyers are coming to understand the situation, we will wait and see how they can help us.
- Michiyo is organizing sending letters to Chinese Embassies from different countries in GENOA region.
- While I’m writing this, (19th of December) about 20 government representatives and police officers came to Anning branch (where I stay now), they are still talking to the branch manager.
Please read the full story of events here (as long as the website is still online): http://www.lifechanyuan.org/bbs/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=6611&extra=page%3D1
Let us act as an international family now!
HOW YOU CAN ACT: Please sign the petition for protection of Second Home: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Chinese_President_Xi_Jinping_Save_Chinas_largest_ecovillage/?copy
Do you have any contacts to the Chinese government?
Do you have any contacts to media - in your country or in China?
Do you have any other ideas?
Please write to: GENOA: firstname.lastname@example.org