Yesterday evening, residents and landlords of Jiezuo Dasha apartment complex on Xingfucun Zhonglu, which is close to the popular bar district Sanlitun, staged a peaceful — though justifiably angry — street protest after water and electricity were cut off to many of the homes and businesses in the area in the morning. A Beijing Cream reader emailed the above video around 12:30 am (two and a half hours ago) with an accompanying note that residents were angry because the previous building management company allegedly failed to pay the electricity and water bills (perhaps absconding with the money instead).
According to a Global Times story published two hours ago, “A notice was posted in Chinese on the walls of the compound to notify residents about the power outage around one week in advance. It is allegedly because some residents have not paid their management fees, but according to (one foreign resident who would only give his name as) Kenneth, around 65 percent of the tenants have paid.”
The story of who is to blame is convoluted, according to (long-term resident Eric) Kung.
The previous property management company still owe money to the electricity commission. Owners have tried to pay outstanding fees directly to the commission, but because they do not hold the contract, they were unable to pay, said Kung.
The current property managers, Quanshun, could not be contacted Monday.
An employee of the previous property company, Nanyang Property Management Company, surnamed Zhang, said Monday that they no longer have responsibility for Jiezuo Dasha since June 2010, and the company is not connected to this incident.
The street — a small one that doesn’t usually get much traffic — was cleared by 9:30 pm, according to GT, and some power was expected to be restored to tenants.
We don’t expect this situation to spiral out of control, as local authorities are usually smart about preventing protests of any scale in inner Beijing (the measures they take actually include working with those with grievances). We’ll be keeping an eye on this though.