Planet China

Fear of heights

It isn’t the first time a local government has halted construction of a building, but the reasons given do stand out. Work stopped on the Shuiyeng Kangcheng development in Chongqing recently when it emerged that a senior local bureaucrat had objected on feng shui grounds. According to the Beijing Times, the Party Secretary in the Jiangjin District of the city was angered that the 108 metre building was going up in front of his own smaller office block. When the property’s developer called him, the Secretary said his predecessor had been wrong to allow building approval, as the new high-rise would damage the feng shui of his own office. Feng shui is a non-scientific belief which holds that invisible energy fields around your home or workplace affect your fortune. In this case the new building would so block the local flow of energy that the official feared he would lose his job. “How dare you,” he screamed down the phone. The developer taped the call and when a recording of the exchange got onto the internet, the bureaucrat was ridiculed, as was the ‘official’ reason (safety) given for halting construction.


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