More than 9,000 uprooted in China's ambitious hunt for alien life

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China Uproots 9,000 People For Huge Telescope

China announced Tuesday it would relocate 9,110 villagers from the country's Guizhou province to make way for the largest radio telescope in the world expected to go into operation later this year. Officials in the world's most populous nation have started their hope that the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) could help in the search for alien life, China's official wire service Xinhua reported.

"FAST can detect incredibly distant places ... even extraterrestrial civilizations," Wu Xiangping, secretary general of the Chinese Astronomy Society, told state media, the South China Morning Post reported.

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The uprooted residents, who all hail from the village of Pingtang, will reportedly receive 12,000 Chinese yuan (roughly $1,838). Any resident who come from one of China's 55 recognized ethnic minorities will also receive an extra 10,000 yuan or about $1,534.

FAST, which began construction in 2011, cost more than $180 million and surpasses the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, previously the world's largest telescope.

More than 9,000 Uprooted in China's Ambitious Hunt for Alien Life
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It's not the first time China has casually relocated thousands or even hundreds of thousands of their own people in the name of marque infrastructure or building projects. By Chinese standards, the scale of the upheaval in Guizhou is comparatively small.

Most famously, Reuters estimated that more than 1 million Chinese citizens were uprooted from their homes during the 17-year construction of the Three Gorges Dam. The dam, also — yup — the world's largest, was designed to provide hydroelectric power, though it ultimately came with the nasty side effect of possibly causing earthquakes. During the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, more than 1.5 million were displaced to make way for the iconic "bird's nest stadium" and other construction projects.

Though restitution to relocated villages has been promised in Pingtang, China has long suffered from lack of follow through in actual remuneration, with land seizures of varying legality a consistent source of unrest throughout the country.

See more from China's Guizhou province:

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Villagers in China's Guizhou Province to be uprooted in search of alien life
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More than 9,000 uprooted in China's ambitious hunt for alien life
Two women pick tea leaves on a plantation at Anshun, in China's southern Guizhou province Thursday July 7, 2005. Villagers of all ages pick tea leaves on the government-owned plantation, earning one yuan (US 12 cents) per kilo. Consumed daily throughout China, tea is also produced in most parts of the country. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, a view of terrace fields of Gaopuo Village in Huaxi district of Guiyang, capital of southwest China's Guizhou Province, Saturday, May 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Wu Dongjun)
A worker breaks rocks at a roadside quarry at Ziyun, in China's southern Guizhou province Thursday July 7, 2005. The rocks were being collected for use in building another road nearby. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a general view shows bumper rice in Gaopo town of Guiyang, capital of southeast China's Guizhou Province, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006. A bumper rice harvest was gained here though drought hit the province this year. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Hou Shaohua)
A Chinese farmer walks past a new town constructed to house relocated residents in Guizhou along the Yangtze river just upriver of the Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei province, Thursday, May 18, 2006. Authorities are expected to announce the completion of the main wall of the dam Saturday, months ahead of schedule. The 1.4 mile wide wall is 607 feet high and 49 feet thick. Begun in 1993, the dam's construction has gone ahead despite complaints about its $22 billion cost and environmental impact. The government has forced 1.3 million people to move out of areas to be flooded by its 410-mile-long reservoir, and says another 80,000 will be relocated this year. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A woman tends tobacco plants on a farm at Anshun, in China's southern Guizhou province Tuesday July 5, 2005. Guizhou is one of China's major tobacco producers, ranking second behind Yunnan province. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
In this photo taken Wednesday, June 3, 2009 released by China's Xinhua news agency, farmers works on terrace paddy fields at Gaopo Village in Huaxi district of Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Jing)
Electricity pylons and buildings are seen partially submerged at a village in Anshun, in China's southern Guizhou province, Tuesday, May 27, 2008. Thirty-six people have died in flash floods in southern Guizhou province since Sunday, while seventeen others died in flooding in five other provinces and 28 were missing. (AP Photo/EyePress) ** CHINA OUT **
Seventy-six year-old Huang Xiuzhen picks tea leaves on a plantation at Anshun, in China's southern Guizhou province Thursday July 7, 2005. Villagers of all ages pick tea leaves on the government-owned plantation, earning one yuan (US 12 cents) for every kilo of leaves. While younger workers can pick up to 30 kilos per day, Huang averages just two or three. (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
In this photo taken Wednesday, June 3, 2009 released by China's Xinhua news agency, farmers works on terrace paddy fields at Gaopo Village in Huaxi district of Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Jing)
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