Global Voices called our attention to a recent project created by an anonymous Chinese blogger devoted to charting incidents of violent eviction throughout China on a “Bloody Map” (xuefang ditu, 血房地图.) His motive is to inform the public and encourage new home buyers to boycott any property stained by violent acquisition. From his Sina account:
The goal of Bloody Map is to collect and list cases of violent eviction which have, or will, already faded from public view; some cases going back 2-3 years I had to dig up myself, but with your support, it’ll be much easier. When I say that new housing is being built right now on land covered in blood, people know what I mean.
There are forceful evictions taking place now which need more media attention, Bloody Map on its own isn’t an appropriate platform to that end. People can’t expect that an effort like this will create enough attention to put an end to current forced evictions. The goal of this site is to present evidence allowing consumers to make decisions. If a day comes when this tiny map is able to make people within the interest chain of a particular eviction reconsider their actions, then it will have achieved its goal.
The project uses Google maps to geo-tag violent evictions, providing background info, media links, and even pictures for each incident. Two versions of the map exist, an “open” version where internet users can add tags themselves, and a “revised” version mapping only those incidents which have been confirmed by news media reports. The “open” version is a bit more interesting to look at, with various icons indicating the nature of each incident, as well as hundreds of user comments and ratings.
Here are a few explanations for the more prominent icons on the map:
- Fire – self-immolation by fire
- Bed – incident involving a death
- Volcano – agitated violence during eviction (for example, use of water hoses or violence to force people out, or use of things like Molotov cocktails in defense)
- Video Camera – media reporting on the incident
Bloody Map began the project only about three weeks ago on October 8. So far there are 70 confirmed incidents in the revised map, including the recent Jiangxi self-immolation incident. He claims that incidents will be taken down in the event of conflict resolution and just compensation. He maintains that his focus is exclusively the Chinese public, who can choose whether they will buy a home built on “bloody” land.
“Media coverage and public attention to illegal land seizure disputes can gradually fade out, failing to form a persistent deterrent to the phenomenon,” Bloody Map told Xinhua last week. “So it is necessary to find a new way to express people’s concerns and try to constrain the problem. . . I’m not conveying any information to the government. I just believe that a responsible citizen should do something for society.”
Reports last week counted over 70,000 visitors to the site. As of today, that number has jumped to over 425,000. This apparently caught the attention of the authorities, and according to his newly opened Twitter account, Bloody Map’s Sina account was shut down last week. Hopefully the map continues to remain unblocked so that these incidents remain clearly documented, and maybe Chinese consumers will start to think twice before buying “blood-stained apartments.”