Posts Tagged ‘demolition’

Beijing Demolition for Subway Sprawl Provokes Resistance

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

By Kevin B. Lee

Demolition Dominates the Residents of Beijing in "Meishi Street"

In China Beat, Jared Hall reports on the spate of public protests that have been prevalent throughout the expansion of the Beijing subway system. Hall focuses on the story of Wang Shibo, whose family shop was slated for demolition to make way for a subway station, at the risk of ruining the family financially:

According to Wang, the family invested practically everything they had to renovate the small clothing shop. But when the subway corporation abruptly presented a notice of eviction, they were reportedly offered just two percent of their investment back in compensation. The very public confrontation with the subway corporation that followed attracted the interest of the international press and a delegation from the National People’s Congress. The shop was torn down two weeks later, but not before an agreement was quietly reached with the family.

Dramatic as the Wang family’s crisis in the face of demolition may be (at one point Wang’s parents doused themselves with gasoline and threatened to burn themselves), it’s a situation that is anything but uncommon in Beijing. (more…)

Olympic Artist Ai Weiwei the Latest in China’s Long List of Evictees

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Artist Ai Weiwei (source: Archinect)

By Isabella Tianzi Cai

Chinese architect and artist Ai Weiwei, designer of the famous “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium in Beijing, and whose current “Sunflower Seeds” exhibition is receiving critical acclaim in the Tate Modern Gallery in London, now faces the demolition of his Shanghai art studio demolished later this month. According to the Chinese government, Ai’s studio was erected illegally and had to be removed by law. But according to the artist, the building project was initiated by a high government official who came to him in 2008, soliciting his help in developing a new cultural district in Shanghai. The current accusation against Ai states that he does not have the proper paperwork for the building project, but two years ago before the project started, Ai was told that the paper works were all in place. The contradiction in the government’s statements arouses Ai’s suspicion that the demolition is a retaliatory act against his political activism in China’s human rights movement, which remains a hot-button issue with the Chinese government.

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Struggles of Chinese Evictees Turned Into Video Game

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Nail Household Fighting Against Demolition Squad

by Sara Beretta

Sometimes reality exceeds the virtual, in its absurdity, strangeness and grotesquery. It also happens that the virtual realm can help in coping with the harshness of real life, by re-enacting and mocking its absurdity and cruelty. This is the case of Nail Household Fighting Against Demolition Squad, the online flash game by Mirage Games that is spreading like wildfire over China. First appearing on the popular website 17173, it’s one of the most played online games.

The so-called “nail householders,” their houses left as lonely nails in the middle of already demolished ones, have to hire people to face the demolition team men, who are milling about to crash down the remaining squatters. There’s Mrs. and Grandpa Ding (Chinese for “nail”) and their six-member family fighting against the crew – with slippers, homemade tools and other scrappy objects – in order to keep their houses standing. What is unusual for a video game is that there are but a few chances to win: after strenuously fighting for six levels, the player hits the “survival level,” set up so that the player is all but doomed, something that rather closely resembles the game’s real life basis.

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What Will Happen to Caochangdi?

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Chaochangdi art district, Beijing

At RedBox Review, Samantha Culp reports a disturbing development concerning the Chaochangdi art district in Beijing, home of such artists and filmmakers as Ai Weiwei, Wu Wenguang and Zhao Liang. Here is her report:

This past month, Beijing saw the launch of the first annual Caochangdi PhotoSpring – a festival based at Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and comprising over two months of exhibitions and events at 27 galleries, with artists from around the world. Subtitled “Arles in Beijing,” PhotoSpring was created in partnership with the acclaimed Les Rencontres d’Arles festival of France, and seems to further strengthen Caochangdi’s position as an established art district in Beijing.

Only a few days before the opening, however, Three Shadows and neighboring galleries had received yet another notice that their buildings were slated for demolition. Though rumors of Caochangdi’s imminent destruction have been circulating since June 2009, and though it seems most of the non-art businesses in the area have *not* received these latest notices, artists and gallerists were concerned enough to spring to action – including luminaries like Ai Weiwei, who has a studio in Caochangdi and personally designed several art spaces there.

A petition is currently circulating through Beijing’s art community, and even its international diplomats, in the attempt to emphasize Caochangdi’s importance as a cultural site. Many are hoping that as with Dashanzi 798 Art District, which was set to be destroyed until the Beijing government realized its value as an art and tourist destination, Caochangdi might be similarly preserved. With the current campaign, as well as festivals like Caochangdi PhotoSpring and the recently-opened CCD Workstation May Festival (focused on film and dance), these hopes remain, but Caochangdi’s future is far from certain.

Click here to learn more about the preservation campaign, and sign the online petition here.