Close to home
Peter Wong, an American business owner, is spearheading a protest by the residents of an upmarket Beijing housing complex. 'You don't expect deception from a Hong Kong [property] company,' he said, when explaining why he and other residents of Shimao Olive Garden are angry. Really? Does anyone here expect anything else?
Olive Garden residents claim developer Shimao Property knew, but didn't tell them, that a four-lane highway would be built alongside the complex when they bought their opulent apartments, which have exclusive views over the Olympic Forest Park.
Ruben Liu, another protester, says: 'We stand to have our quality of life ruined by an expressway and will lose millions of yuan because our properties will drop in value.'
According to property agents, that value has doubled since 2005, when the flats were bought.
I wish the residents every success with their campaign - confronting the 'enemy' in Ferraris and Maseratis, no less - but I do have one question for Wong and Liu. Where were your rage and activism when thousands of Beijingers were being turfed out of the hutongs of Qianmen (above) and elsewhere ahead of the Olympics?
That may be unfair - perhaps the good people of Shimao Olive Garden are trying to get reparation for those who had no luxury cars to park in front of the bulldozers - but a further quote by Wong suggests otherwise: 'We are not out to make trouble but we know our rights and cannot be cheated like less well-off citizens.'