In China, a Man's Home is his Castle Too

In China, a Man's Home is his Castle Too

March 24, 2007 3 Comments

Americans need to lose the Cold War image of China as people in Mao jackets riding bicycles holding little red books. People in China struggle with the same issues we do in America, including local government officials and developers trying to take your house so they can build a shopping center. Sound familiar? This issue is especially important in light of the new private property law passed by China’s legislators last week.


Local residents look at a two-storey home, which is now the only building left standing atop a mound in a 10-meter-deep construction pit in Chongqing March 22, 2007. [newsphoto]

There is a great story in today’s China Daily, Defiant couple stave off wrecking ball, about a family in Chongqing that is refusing to give up their 2000 square foot house even after the local authorities cut off their water and electricity. Worth noting: 1) the story is being reported by reporters from all over China, 2) the couple has a banner on the house reading “Rights to legitimate private property shall not be infringed upon,” 3) the issue is the price–they want to be paid the fair market value in the hot property market so they can relocate, and 4) my friends at took a poll yesterday showing that 86% of the 83,175 people interviewed supported the couple’s decision. Every one of these points flies in the face of the stereotype shown in the U.S. media.

I’m not saying it’s Kansas in Chongqing. Chinese institutions are not just like ours; they are evolving in a healthy direction. There is not yet rule of law, although they are working on it. But people are people everywhere.

Suggestion: set up an automatic search on Google for all stories with the words “National People’s Congress” to be delivered to your email every day. You will see a dozen or so stories each day so you can track the changing legal and regulatory climate in China yourself.


John Rutledge


  1. Lawrence

    March 24, 2007

    John, they American people (mostly baby boomers) will never lose the Cold Ward image of China because by and large, the American do not know anything about China. I have always beleived that the Chinese know more about us than we know about them.

    I also think that for a long time there has been a growing feeling that only Americans are allowed to get wealthy and stay wealthy. Capital cannot and should not flow outside of the US. Americans dont have a problem with the long as they remained backwards under Mao or came over here to cook our pork fried rice and sesame chicken. But the minute China started getting in the Great Game of Capitalism all of a sudden, those evil Mao Red Book waving Chinese are on the march.

    In my Foreign Policy of US class on Monday, my professor talked about the property rights issue in China. He went at great lenghts to explain that China is reforming, but it is and will do so at ITS on pace. I then said to him that "China thinks in centuries, Americans think in soundbites" he said was exactly right. The Chinese have been around much longer than we have and therefore are much more patient than we are.

    You have the go getting type of Americans like myself, then you have the whiners. Go to a community college, go to a 4 year college, pick up a little Chinese along the way and you will be fine. But stop the damn complaining already.

  2. Ken

    March 28, 2007

    Mrs Wuping, the owner, said the issue was not money but that they wanted to be given a property (presumably in the new development) with comparable square footage in return. You can read the interview with Mrs Wuping here:

  3. Loveandtheplanet

    April 11, 2008

    Useful blog news, and the sort of thing that sheep media don't carry. But everybody forgets that with 1 billion people in the country, most people in China have predictable and familiar desires. The problem really is how to avert their progress through the same silly fashion catalogue of wasteful and environmentally disastrous human wants such as have been developed and worn out by Western Economies over 200 years.

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