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July 25, 2013

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Developer probed for glorifying colonial era

A PROPERTY developer in Xuhui District is being investigated for allegedly violating Chinese law and ordered to remove the wording "French Concession" from its advertisements and leaflets, authorities said yesterday.

Local residents complained that four billboards of a property under construction at the interaction of Xietu Road and Hebao Road boasted that the new development displayed "the splendor of the French Concession," which, they said, hurt their feelings.

"The colonial past is a bitter and humiliating history of China, and such promotion that uses the bitter past of China as a stunt is very irresponsible," said a man, surnamed Chen, in his 70s.

Another person, surnamed Qiu, said anyone who is patriotic should feel uneasy about these advertisements.

The under-construction Foresight Tower is a serviced apartment building developed by the Shanghai Xinrong Property Development Co Ltd and invested by Jiangsu-based Golden Land Real Estate. The apartments are selling on an average at the rate of 45,000 yuan (US$7,258) per square meter.

The company's sales representatives said most of the apartments are scheduled to be handed over to the property owners next year.

The promotion leaflets also claimed that the property "offers a noble and romantic lifestyle of the French Concession."

The ads are actually deceiving as the location of the building is not in the former French Concession area, and neither is the architecture anywhere close to a "French" style.

The words "French Concession" are humiliating and against mainstream values and banned by law for use in any advertisement, the Xuhui Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said.

The offending words on the billboards have now been covered up with adhesive tapes. The promotion leaflets were no longer available when reporters visited the sales office yesterday. Its website had already deleted the offending words.

Lawyers said the property developer could be fined up to five times of its advertisement fees and, in extreme cases, its business suspended.

The French Concession area existed from 1849 to 1943 covering Xuhui and the former Luwan District.

In March 2012, a pizza restaurant on Yonjia Lu was hauled up for similar offences and fined 47,500 yuan.


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