Beijing Cracks Down on Illegal Villas
Posted on August 25, 2013
In our previous article, we featured one Chinese tycoon’s island-like villa on top of a 26-storey residential building.
Today, authorities have given him an ultimatum: within 15 days, he must provide papers supporting his legal claim to his rooftop property or be busted.
But Professor Zhang’s situation is just an isolated case among wealthy Chinese individuals’ ostentatious displays of affluence — from flashy cars to posh apartments complexes around Beijing. Sometimes, the land used comes from farmers barely getting by.
As for Professor Zhang’s brush with Chinese authorities, police took action only after photos of his penthouse villa went viral on the Internet.
Today, Chinese President Jinping Xi promised to investigate and deal with reported abuse of power and authority by many of China’s elite.
A recent crackdown involved the owner of 25 villas built right on top of a Hengyang supermarket complex. But he later gained favor from Chinese courts under a condition that he maintains full ownership of the villas.
To make matters murkier and more confusing, China retains ownership of all its land, and homeowners simply agree on 70-year leases. But even in Sichuan province, leases have been reduced to 40 years, and officials defended such ruling by convincing their critics not to think “too long-term.”
“Who knows if we’ll still be in this world in 40 years,” the officials added.
But for many, the rich and famous have been allowed to go on under the shadows of their grand ambitions and power for far too long — too visible, too much.