Eminent domain is a very controversial issue here in the United States. It is often used by local, state or federal governments to oust homeowners for land the governments want. According to one source, the definition of eminent domain is:
“the power of the state to take private property for public use with payment of compensation to the owner.”
Instances of government use of eminent domain includes obtaining private land for roads, pipelines and government complexes. What many people fail to realize is that eminent domain is based upon the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution which states:
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“…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Unfortunately, here in the US, some powerful private companies have successfully used eminent domain to obtain land from private citizens, often with the approval of local government. Back in 2003, there was an example of this near to where I live. A private company wanted to build a shopping center and office development in Norwood, KY. They began buying out homeowners, but several of them refused to sell. One homeowner was an elderly person who had lived in the same house their entire life and did not want to leave. The developers persuaded the city of Norwood to get involved. The city council voted 7-2 to invoke eminent domain to oust the 7 holdouts.
Donald Trump is reportedly a champion of using eminent domain to help build his vast empire. Perhaps the infamous example of his use of eminent domain was the way he pushed to get possession of an elderly woman’s home in Atlantic City in order to expand his casino.
Over the years, there have been thousands of Americans who have been the victims of eminent domain and now we are hearing about it being used in China to evict 9,000 homeowners, but the reason is beyond this world.
China is building the world’s largest radio telescope, Fast (Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope), which translates to 1,640 feet in diameter, in the southwestern province of Guizhou. Construction started in 2011 and is expected to be completed by this September.
Prior to the completion of the telescope, China is evicting everyone that lives within 3 miles of the telescope. 9,110 Chinese residents are being paid 12,000 yuan (about $1,900) to leave their homes and find a new place to live.
Other than being the world’s largest radio telescope, eclipsing Puerto Rico’s 300 meter-diameter Arecibo Observatory, the Chinese are saying that their new radio telescope is a breakthrough in the search for alien life in the universe.
Nan Rendong, a senior scientist on the project told the media:
“A radio telescope is like a sensitive ear, listening to tell meaningful radio messages from white noise in the universe. It is like identifying the sound of cicadas in a thunderstorm.”
Shi Zhicheng, a Chinese astronomer, told the media:
“If intelligent aliens exist, the messages that they produced or left behind, if they are being transmitted through space, can be detected and received by Fast.”
That’s right, 9,110 people are being evicted so the Chinese government can search for ET. How’s that for a reason to take someone’s home via eminent domain?