CAS­TLE IN THE AIR

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO BY WANG JING /CHINA DAILY

A villa on top of a 26-story apart­ment build­ing in Renji Shanzhuang com­mu­nity, Bei­jing’s Haid­ian dis­trict, was ruled il­le­gal by the Bei­jing con­struc­tion au­thor­ity on Mon­day. It is built of rocks, dec­o­rated with trees and bushes, and cov­ers around 800 square me­ters. The Chi­nese char­ac­ters read “a civ­i­lized dis­trict of China”.

A for­mer po­lit­i­cal ad­viser was or­dered on Mon­day to de­mol­ish a villa he built af­ter it was ruled an il­le­gal build­ing by the Bei­jing au­thor­ity.

Zhang Biqing, the owner of the villa in Haid­ian dis­trict and head of a tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine chain, is re­quired to de­mol­ish the struc­ture within 15 days from Mon­day, said Haid­ian cheng­guan, or ur­ban patrol of­fi­cers.

The house, on top of a 26-story apart­ment build­ing in Renji Shanzhuang, was built of rocks, dec­o­rated with trees and bushes and cov­ers around 800 square me­ters, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the cheng­guan pro­vided to China Daily.

As the owner of the house did not get prior ap­proval from the govern­ment, the struc­ture was ruled il­le­gal by the Bei­jing con­struc­tion au­thor­ity, the state­ment said.

Ac­cord­ing to reg­u­la­tions, the dis­trict govern­ment has to or­der com­pul­sory de­mo­li­tion of a build­ing as soon as it is iden­ti­fied as il­le­gal, said Wang Qiang, a spokesman for the Bei­jing Com­mis­sion of Hous­ing and Ur­ban-Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment.

The com­pul­sory de­mo­li­tion or­der has been filed with the Haid­ian govern­ment, the cheng­guan au­thor­ity said.

If Zhang does not pro­vide doc­u­ments to de­fend his right to keep the villa or does not de­mol­ish it in the al­lot­ted time, it will be de­mol­ished by cheng­guan af­ter govern­ment ap­proval, ac­cord­ing to a no­tice posted by cheng­guan on the door of the 26th floor apart­ment where Zhang lives.

The Haid­ian govern­ment de­clined to comment fur­ther on Mon­day on the case and China Daily was un­able to con­tact Zhang for comment.

Neigh­bors have com­plained about dam­age to their pipes and walls due to the build­ing’s con­struc­tion, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in Bei­jing Morn­ing Post on Mon­day.

At least two own­ers have moved be­cause of dis­putes with Zhang over the build­ing, the re­port said.

A ten­ant named Wang, who lives on the 20th floor of the build­ing, said his house’s ven­ti­la­tion pipes de­te­ri­o­rated af­ter the villa was con­structed.

Wang also said con­struc­tion ma­te­rial fall­ing from the build­ing dam­aged parts of his car.

Cheng­guan of­fi­cers said they had tried to con­tact Zhang about the build­ing many times since March 2009 but failed.

A struc­ture ex­pert sur­named Liu from the China Acad­emy of Build­ing Re­search said an ini­tial eval­u­a­tion of a build­ing de­sign is re­quired be­fore be­gin­ning con­struc­tion atop of an apart­ment.

“With­out such a risk eval­u­a­tion, the con­struc­tion can be very danger­ous to the whole build­ing,” Liu said.

Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese reg­u­la­tions and laws, the struc­ture and lay­out of build­ings can­not be changed with­out go­ing through le­gal pro­ce­dures to get the ap­proval of rel­e­vant de­part­ments, said Li Weimin, di­rec­tor of Bei­jing Weibo Law Firm.

“Neigh­bors’ rights are vi­o­lated by the noise and leak­ing prob­lem it causes,” Li said.

Res­i­dents can re­port the prob­lem to cheng­guan and the mu­nic­i­pal con­struc­tion com­mis­sion or choose to bring a law­suit, Li said.

An­other neigh­bor who lives on the same floor as Zhang said the il­le­gal build­ing may have en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties as he has heard loud mu­sic and many voices from there late at night. Zhao Lei, Yan Ran and Liu Yi­ran con­trib­uted to this story.

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