Business, Economics and Jobs

China's scorpion landords: all in the name of development


A rare six-inch Asian Emperor Scorpion.


Sam Yeh

In China, since all property technically belongs to the state, it's sort of like China is everyone's landlord.

By most accounts, China is not a very good landlord. It does things like kick people out of their homes with very little notice. Or maybe there is enough notice but there is woefully inadequate compensation. Or maybe there is no compensation at all.

And if you say you'd rather not go after all, maybe, just maybe, there will be scorpions running crawling up your wall when you wake up in the morning.

Such is the complaint of residents in Shenzen's Huawu alley.

The Telegraph reports:

The alley, which contains around 100 homes, had been sold by the local government to Shenzhen Rosa, a property developer, which was in the process of negotiating a compensation package for the homeowners to leave.

The negotiations do not appear to have gone smoothly, however, and the developer had already cut the water and electricity to the homes in order to force out their occupants.

No, the negotiations do not appear to have gone smoothly at all. According to the Shenzhen News, about 10,000 scorpions were collected from the premises.

According to the China Daily, a resident said he saw a young man sneaking into the alley with a barrel and scattering the contents out at doorways and windowsills.

The pace of development is lightning fast in many parts of China. It's a frenzy that leaves people floundering. And just as government officials will do anything to overtake land from people who are settled there, those people will in turn react with drastic measures. There is a disturbing trend of suicides being committed by people who have had their rights trampled on in the name of development.

In the heart of Beijing, ancient alleyways called hutongs are disappearing at an alarming rate and threatening to take with them rich portions of the country's history. Watch a three-part video series at GlobalPost.