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November 29, 2010

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First stones thrown in the 'war of mirrors'

ANGRY residents living in a complex on Panyu Road in downtown Shanghai are using home-made slings to fire stones at huge mirrors in a bid to end a two-year-long "war of mirrors."

Elderly residents complained to Shanghai Daily that the escalation of the dispute was now posing a danger to passers-by who happened to walk into the "battlefield" and other residents' properties were also in the firing line.

It is believed that one resident used an air gun in an attack on the offending mirrors.

The dispute began in 2008 when a man installed reflective glass in the windows of his seventh-floor balcony in No. 30 Building.

A resident in the No. 24 block opposite, surnamed Liu, said the mirrored glass intruded on his daughter's privacy. If Liu or his neighbors looked out their windows they could see the girl's bedroom in the reflection.

After complaints to the neighborhood committee produced no response, Liu retaliated, buying four 1-meter-high mirrors and attaching them to the wall outside his daughter's room.

Liu said he wanted residents opposite to experience "life in a mirror" too. This triggered the "mirrors war" as other households joined in.

According to superstition, hanging a mirror can ward off misfortune, as it reflects bad luck and demons back to where they come from.

Out of range

As a result, many households began regarding people in the opposite block as "demons" and soon all the blocks in the complex were festooned with charms including mirrors, scissors and even broomsticks to ward off evil spirits.

Neighborhood committee officials trying to reach a solution found that no one was prepared to back down.

Now some residents have resorted to firing stones at the mirrors on the seventh floor of No. 24 Building.

But yesterday they were still in place, seemingly out of range of the home-made weapons.

One "missile" did find a target, however.

Liu found a small hole in the window of his daughter's room and said that his apartment had been fired on late one night.

"We heard the sound of shattering glass in the middle of night and I saw tiny pieces of glass which fell down on the table in the morning," said Liu.

He said police told him that someone using an air gun was probably to blame. They were hunting for the shooter.

Liu believed it was someone living in the opposite building who was aiming at the mirrors but missed.

He said that before the incident, someone had been frequently ringing his door bell at 1am or 2am. Liu also said he often found his bicycle tires had been punctured.


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