Disappearing Yangpu

Foreigners often lament the loss of old areas in Shanghai (or anywhere in China) — most notably Laoximen — but we do so with a luxury that many Chinese people don’t have. We’d like these old buildings to stay around for us to look at and understand better the China of old, and perhaps the China of now. But Chinese people are still moving to the cities, and need a place to stay, and these rickety buildings are simply too old, energy inefficient, and most importantly: too low-rise. While that’s the charm of it, it’s a complaint being shouted down from high up the Maslov pyramid. Houses are for living first, not an attraction.

Aside from complaining that the whole world is being optimized into similarity, there’s not much I can do about it — apart from taking a picture before they’re gone.

Buildings about to be destroyed

The buildings are bricked up and often supplied by a “拆” or “封“ or simply a circle with a dot in the middle.


Not just residential buildings are moved, but also stores — so often the new address is placed on the old location. Pork? 150 meters that way!

Slogans to motivate people to move

I found one area where people still live, and plenty of slogans posted on the wall. Some mention the advantages of the new areas, others put pressure on residents to sign early, putting fear in them for missing out on the compensation. I’m not sure if they have any effect, but I’ll try to translate some of them here.

支持旧区改造,享受安居乐业 (Support the renovation of old areas and enjoy living peacefully, working happily)


征收签约莫犹豫早日签约是上策 (When you receive the levying contract, don’t hesitate to sign. Signing early is the best policy)


珍惜机遇, 合理诉求, 支持旧改 Cherish the opportunity, be reasonable in claims, support renovation


亲情关注民生,致力和谐征收 (Affectionate caring about people’s livelihood, committed to harmonious levying)


顾全大局,造福子孙后代:合理诉求,依法维护权益 (Taking the overall situation into consideration and benefiting future generations: reasonable demands, safeguarding rights, and interests in accordance with the law) 


管理贯穿全过程,依法旧改有保障 (The management runs through the whole process, and the renovation are guaranteed according to the law)


深化旧改全过程管理,是杨浦旧里百姓的福音 (Deepening the management of the renovation process, is the gospel of residents of old Yangpu)


旧改联万家,情系你我他(The renovation relates to tens of thousands of families, care for you, me and others)


加快旧区改造,构建和谐社会 (Accelerate the renovation of old districts, build a harmonious society)


等待,等待,等丢了多少奖金?(Wait, wait, waiting caused how many bonuses to disappear?)


坚持依法,诚信,阳光征收,维护被征收居民合法权益 (Adhere to the law, honesty, levy sunshine, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the levied residents)


邻里互动,共建幸福未来:邻里互动,共享美好生活 (Neighborhood work together, building a happy future: Neighborhood work together, sharing a better life)


坚持旧改全过程,做到公开公平公正(persist in the whole renovation process, until it’s public, fair, and just)


多年翘首盼旧改,今朝安居梦成真 (Years of looking forward to the renovation, today setting down safely and royally becomes true)


加强旧改全过程管理,携手共圆百姓旧改梦(Strengthen the management of the whole process of renovation, and join hands to realize the dream of the renovation)


机会来之极不易,签约搬迁莫迟疑 (Opportunities are hard to come by, don’t hesitate to sign a contract)


发动群众,依靠群众,服务群众。实现群众合法利益最大化(Mobilize the masses, rely on the masses, serve the masses. Realize the legitimate benefits of the masses)


贯彻征收条例,严格依法征收,维护居民利益 (Carry out the levying, collect strictly according to law, safeguard the benefit of residents)


改造是为了发展,发展是为了人民 (Renovation is for development, development is for the people)


改造一片旧里造福一方百姓 (Renovate an old place, benefit the ordinary people)


早走,多走,奖励高!(Go early, go more, the reward is high!)


依法公正,依靠群众,阳光诚信和谐有序 (Justice in accordance with the law, relying on the masses, sunshine, integrity, harmony and order)


All taken on Saturday, July 9th, 2022.