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Game pits homeowners v. demolishers

A Chinese youth plays an online game at an Internet cafe in Beijing.

TEXT OF STORY

BILL RADKE: It's the Chinese version of eminent domain -- government seizing private property. And it's becoming more common. So much so, there's now an online video game devoted to it. The game pits angry homeowners struggling to hold onto their property against an evil demolition crew. It's become one of China's most popular online games.

Marketplace China bureau chief Rob Scmitz reports, it's a sign the Chinese are getting fed up with losing their homes to more development.


ROB SCHMITZ: Losing your home has never been so fun. The free online game allows you to throw slippers, firecrackers and other household objects from an upstairs window at a demolition crew below. They're armed with shovels, bulldozers and machine guns. Guess who wins?

Chinese internet expert Wen Yun Chao says he's not surprised the game's so popular.

WEN YUN CHAO: There are so many vicious property seizures happening right now in China, and for many people, all of this has reached an unbearable level.

China's rapid development and massive public works projects have forced millions from their homes. It's also spurred a public debate in China over property rights. Just this summer, the country began moving more than 300,000 people from their homes to clear the way for a massive water diversion project.

Wen says more Chinese are being angered by the limited rights under Chinese law for people who face this type of forced relocation. Without this backdrop, he says, the game's pretty pointless -- as pointless, perhaps, as defending your home against Chinese developers.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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