Monday, January 26, 2009

Footage of Shanghai's Longchang Complex


The Guardian's Dan Chung did a nice piece of video footage of the Longchang Apartment complex in Shanghai which is one of the city's more architecturally interesting pre-war housing developments. Originally built by the British it was occupied by the Japanese military after the fall of Shanghai. Years ago I knew a girl who grew up there and thought the flats 'ok' but not much more and the whole place like living in a goldfish bowl.

She'd have disagreed with Chung's title 'Neighbours Take Care of Each Other' - her family moved out because they kept getting robbed and anything left outside got nicked and they got fed up of it. Her family also vehmently denied that the Japanese had occupied the complex too - but that's true of anywhere in Shanghai where the Japanese military lived. I talked to some residents of the once notorious Bridge House jail where many people, foreign and Chinese, were tortured and killed by the Kempetai and everyone (despite being old enough to have been in Shanghai during the war) insisted nothing had happened in their building! They were very superstitious about the whole thing - or perhaps just worried about dampening property prices.

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