In April I blogged about a Shanghai (Xujiahui-area) highrise cluster that had undertaken a very public protest against a neighboring real estate development threatening to take away their views, sunlight and – presumably – property values. Hoping to inflict maximum face-loss, the affluent residents hung large, inflammatory banners from the sides of their buildings, calling for the developer – Shanghai Film Group President Ren Zhonglun – to obey the law, “stop tarnishing the party,” and, well, stop building the new high-rise cluster. This would be notable anywhere in China, but particularly so for the location of these banners: they hang in busy Xujiahui, and look out upon some of the most heavily trafficked intersections in all of Shanghai.
April wasn’t the only instance of indignant banner-hanging in Xujiahui. I know of at least three others (in one case, the residents promised to exact a “blood-price” to preserve their views). And Sunday, I came across the most recent. I post this time mostly to give visual context to the earlier images. Here, for posterity’s sake, is the view from the construction site’s gate, facing the buildings – and banners – owned by the indignant property owners (click for enlargement):
Representative banner messages:
“Hoping Government Does Right and Enables the People to Live in Peace and Prosper.”
“The Only Correct Way Out is for Shanghai Film to Reduce the Floors” [That is, we're gonna keep hanging banners until you turn your highrises into low-rises]
As of yesterday evening, when I was down there yet again, the banners were still hanging and construction was continuing [UPDATE: still hanging at noon on Tuesday].
[I should mention that my interest in this protest was sparked by Ren Zhonglun's decision to demolish a 19th century Carmelite convent - until recently, one of Shanghai's oldest buildings - on the site of his sunlight-blocking highrises. Click here, and especially here, for more on that unnecessary tragedy.]
[Thanks to an admirer of General Grant for help with the translations.]