Hundreds of angry property owners staged a rare protest outside a district government office in a suburb of the Chinese capital on Monday, demanding official investigations and intervention into a school that was promised to them but never delivered.
“About one thousand people were protesting in front of the government and 200 policemen showed up to keep the order,” one of the protesting residents, who declined to be named, told the South China Morning Post on Monday morning.
“The government has just allowed five representatives to enter (the government office) for dialogues,” he said.
The protesters, who had bought apartments in the Beijie Jiayuan residential project in Changping, a suburban district about 30 kilometres north of Beijing, claimed that the property developer had told buyers that their children would be eligible for enrolment in a prestigious school nearby, a promise that they failed to fulfil.
The school in question was purportedly affiliated with the Beijing Normal University. Schools run by the university typically enjoy a reputation for high-quality teaching staff and programmes.
However, construction of the promised school had not been completed so far, and local officials also had denied that residents in the project were entitled for enrolment in the school. Instead, they were told their children could only go to another, lesser school nearby.
Both the residents and the local government had accused the developer, Lawton Shahe Development Company, of making false promises to lure buyers. The company was not available for comment on Monday.
Property owners in the project now blame the government for not doing enough to stop the scam or punish the company. Sales of the project had lasted for around eight years since 2006, and the government had no excuse for inaction for so long, they say.
Others even accused officials of colluding with the developers.
“We bought the apartment just for getting my child into the school, but this turned out to be false. It makes me very angry,” said the resident.