baishizhou demolition: the rising cost of shenzhen dreaming

Shenzhen Noted

Yesterday, I heard this story: A 30-something farmer from Lanzhou came to Shenzhen in 2013 in order to make his fortune. He started out working for a relative in a Lanzhou Noodle Shop, and then after a few months decided to open his own noodle shop. After looking around for a suitable place, he decided to purchase the rental rights to a noodle shop in Baishizhou, on the western side of Shahe Road. The shop had been recently renovated and came with a hefty transfer fee—180,000 rmb with a high rent. But the man was enthusiastic. So he sold his homestead land (宅基地) as an initial investment and moved his family to Baishizhou, where they worked. Only his youngest son went to school, while his oldest didn’t go to high school so he could work in the shop. As the last of the buildings in the Shahe Industrial Park are…

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One response to “baishizhou demolition: the rising cost of shenzhen dreaming

  1. This story is not unique. A kind of James Agee goes urban. I have handled real estate matters in China and there is a third layer, beyond, ownership and taxes, the civil permitting process. Most buisinesses in China do not have them. The noodleman here certainly did not.

    The Foucauldian implication is that in the PRC the state has hit upon a formula where control is maintained by making everyone a de facto illegal non person (outside the demos) or operator of an illegal business. As long as these interstitial persons behave and make the required payoffs all is allowable. Thus the threat of government enforcement looms over everyone. Rabinow would agree as would Antigone or Butler or Stefan Jonsson

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