July 23, 2007

Dalian’s Timegrenade

Filed under: Dalian,politics — Kim @ 3:13 pm

Sorry for the silence…I was attacked by an enraged Mao supporter after my last post and had to spend 3 weeks in hospital.

Anyways, it’s nice to still be able to read Wiki without going through a proxy and I recently checked out the Dalian entry and thought it well written and fairly comprehensive.

And one of the pictures caught my eye…


This thrusting building is one of Dalian’s biggies and on a sunny day the layered golden apex gleams and shimmers spectacularly. It is an impressive building – perhaps the most imposing building in Dalian – and it is totally empty.

Which, as the Wiki article also mentions, is part of ex-mayor Bo Xilai’s “mixed legacy”. Good old Bo did a lot for this town before he ascended to Beijing, but he also presided over a few major scams apparently.

Now, to be honest, I am still not totally sure what went on with this building because nobody really wants to talk about it and I can’t do any research in Chinese. My brother in law (姐夫 jiefu) is a bank manager and totally knows what went on, but he won’t tell me. When I asked my wife to ask him he just muttered something about the fact that the loans ran out before the building was completed. Well, no kidding Kojak, but as any Dalianer will tell you it really is so close to completion it seems a real shame to stop where they did.

So what happened?

One of my business students is a fairly high up banker working in risk assessment and he comes from Szechuan, so maybe that is why he felt more willing to talk about it. He basically said that one of the managers had done a runner with a LOAD of money and that several other important people had been complicit in making the set up of the building a complete scam. He smiled wrily as he said “If there is an investigation too many important people will go to jail, it is…how do you say, not a bomb, think of its shape, it is (he consulted his dictionary)…a grenade! A grenade left in the middle of Dalian!” Another nice wry smile.

And someday, presumably, someone will pull the pin and it will blow up in their faces…maybe.

I can’t see any investigation happening any time soon, but I wish they would finish that damn building. It pains me to see it going to waste.

This country really could do with more investigative journalism sometimes.

Oh, and btw, I wasn’t attacked. I’m just lazy.


  1. Try asking them about 财富光产/Caifu Guangchang (see http://tinyurl.com/2hqbwz) and see if you can get a story on that one.

    Same deal. Developers for an apartment complex run out of money. Developing stopped.

    Comment by Rick — July 23, 2007 @ 4:55 pm

  2. “Oh, and btw, I wasn’t attacked. I’m just lazy.”

    Get on it, mate! I’ve been getting carpal tunnel checking your site daily for updates! 😉

    Comment by canrun — July 24, 2007 @ 7:44 am

  3. Big glut of downtown office space over the past 3 years. Did them no benefit to finish it… just make sure it ticked over, like the big square one on the junction opposite Labour Park.

    But as opposite Labour Park, development on this one has sparked up. Workman’s lights on in the evening and plumbing works on the outside. Typical end-of-cycle office property boom – almost always end of decade despite the country, despite the decade. Lots of places are reaching the finishing stages. Now’s the time to get out of real estate.

    Comment by Alex — July 24, 2007 @ 4:27 pm

  4. Hey, cheers for this. Despite knowing the “runner” bit, the grenade analogy is a fantastic one. Anyone else ever feel like the “look away and pretend it’s not there” attitude is rife in China?

    Comment by The Humanaught — July 26, 2007 @ 5:33 am

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