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January 19, 2010

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Wealthy residents reach for the sky in richest village

A SKYSCRAPER under construction in China's richest village has been funded by the village's 200 richest residents without the need for bank loans.

The 328-meter tower by Huaxi Village in the east China's Jiangsu Province is expected to be a new milestone for the village whose original residents moved into their own villas 20 years ago.

The village raised funds from its wealthiest residents for the skyscraper project which began on August 8, 2007.

Each investor paid 10 million yuan (US$1.46 million) toward the 74-story "New Village in the Sky," which will have its official inauguration next October, yesterday's Beijing Times reported.

The 200 villagers are shareholders and owners in the complex which will be used for residential and business purposes and as a tourist attraction.

However, many of Huaxi's newest residents complained about discriminative treatment and the wide gap between them and the village's 2,000 original residents who benefit from the enterprises in the village as shareholders.

Those new members were from 13 villages which joined Huaxi during its expansion from 2001.

They were promised the same priority as Huaxi's original residents in job allocation but were excluded from dividends shared among the 2,000 original residents, which meant most of them were unable to purchase a Huaxi villa, once the most remarkable sign of the village's wealth.

But the original members say a non-discriminatory policy among all the 35,000 villagers would be unfair as Huaxi's achievements were based on their hard work.


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