Out with the old, in with the newest ridiculously expensive development project. As Shanghai is finally gearing up to start construction on its Disneyland (the appropriate reaction to this is still, “Why?”), more people are being forcibly evicted to make room for the theme park. Evictions are one of China’s most notorious repeat offenses as thousands of people were forced out and displaced for both the Beijing Olympics and the Expo.
The $3.5 billion Disney project is pushing 2,000 households out of their homes, most likely into smaller apartments and/or for meager compensations. Shanghai resident Wang Quanlin’s family has tried to fight back with legal action to either save their house or receive more adequate compensation, but neither seems likely to happen. (Maybe they should follow this guy’s lead and take more extreme measures to fight evictors.) The city is preparing to turn the land in July and demolitions are being scheduled.
And all for a Shanghai Disneyland that will be located on the east bank of the Huangpu and, at 116 hectares, will be smaller than its counterpart in Hong Kong. Even though the plans were first approved in November 2009, by February of this year financial doubts over the park’s future had already arisen, thanks to Hong Kong Disneyland’s less than happy turn out thus far.
The Hong Kong park reportedly lost HK$1.32 billion in 2009, and other reports show 70% of Mainland theme parks are also in trouble. Initially, Hong Kong was predicted to break even by 2011 at the latest, but construction on the park is only scheduled to finish in 2014, which doesn’t sound too promising. With our own Disneyland expected to take at least five to six years to be completed, we could be looking at more money hemorrhaged into a Disney “tailored to the Shanghai region,” and more forced evictions.