Much of Shenzhen’s informal history is, unsurprisingly perhaps, being written on blogs and weibo. However, websites dedicated to real estate, ranging from analysis to agency offerings are not usually considered to be history writing. Nevertheless, these websites provide insite into the negotiation of value as people transform labor and desire into homes and family life. To give a sense of the historical content of these websites as well as how they produce knowledge about the city, I’ve translated a sampling from a real estate purchasing and rental keywords post by 王猴猴.
Just an editorial note: when reading these keywords it is important to hear what has not been said. Policy criticisms and social problems remain implicit in Wang Houhou’s explanations and evaluations. I have thus added a few exegetical notes, which do not exhaust possible interpretations, but rather point to other readings. I encourage readers to add their own interpretations and thereby enrich the keywords.
盘点1995～2005深圳地产十年关键词 Inventory of Shenzhen Real Estate Keywords, 1995-2005 (Wang Houhou)
1995 购房入户 (Buy a house, get Shenzhen hukou) In order to stimulate citizens to purchase homes and also to further economic development in a slow house market, Chinese local governments promulgated real estate development policies and measures. The prime example of these policies came in 1995, when the Shenzhen government approved a measure that allowed anyone who bought a house outside the second line [in Baoan or Longgang District] was eligible for three Shenzhen hukous. [In 1995 Baoan and Longgang were still under rural administration and the Second Line was still enforced. Consequently, this law stimulated building at Second Line checkpoints, notably Buji and Meilin, where people could buy a Shenzhen hukou and still get to work easily.]
1996 建设转向深圳市中心 (Construction reorients in the direction of the Shenzhen city center) The Shenzhen Municipal Standing Committee approved a resolution of favorable policies for the first generation of development in the new city center. This signaled the beginning of reorienting the focus of urban construction. [The first generation of “downtown” Shenzhen had been at Caiwuwei, Luhuo, site of the Baoan County Seat and Commune headquarters. The move to the new center area marked a break with Maoism and the beginning of explicitly neoliberal construction in Shenzhen.]
1997 调整土地使用费征收标准 (Adjust the landuse fee standards) Shenzhen Municipality promulgated new landuse fee standards, whereby the standard fees for landuse would be adjusted according to the level of economic development and consumer goods price index. In addition, the Municipality distinguished between commercial housing and noncommercial housing landuse, making Shenzhen’s landuse fee system more scientific. [Precursor to the end of subsidized housing for workers in state-owned companies.]
2000 深军北伐 (Shenzhen soldiers fight in the North) After early Vanke and Zhonghai’s successful ventures outside the city, in 2000 Guangzhou and Shenzhen real estate developers rushed north. The major developers, including Gemdale, Hesheng Pearl River [in trouble for a while], R&F Properties, and Star River Group began to compete for projects in Beijing and Shanghai.
2001 首颁土地交易地方性法规 (First local regulations on properties exchange) The promulgation of the “Shenzhen properties exchange regulation 《深圳市土地交易市场管理规定》” was the first local properties exchange law. This law regulated exchange, deepened land reform, and made government more accountable, creating a more open, fair, and just environment for real estate development.
2002 首笔土地按揭贷款诞生 (First generation of mortgages is born) The Shenzhen Ministry of Planning and Land Resources Bureau collaborated with the Shenzhen Branch of the Development Bank to provide loans and services for people purchasing landuse rights. The Development Bank offered low mortgage rates for landuse, allowing landuse purchasers to make an initial payment on landuse. Subsequently, the total purchase price was immediately transferred to the Land and Resources Bureau account. Companies had 3 to 5 years to make quarterly payments on their loan [from the Bank]. This widened the number of companies that could purchase landuse rights and symbolized the maturing of Shenzhen’s land policies. [Not yet loans for individuals.]
2004 宝安铺开城市化进程 (Baoan begins urbanization) Baoan and Longgang Districts begin rural urbanization. Shenzhen became the first Chinese city not to have rural administration within its municipal apparatus. The “special” in “Special Economic Zone” was precisely this “willingness to charge forward”. This willingness was also the reason for the SEZ’s economic success. The Shenzhen Party Secretary at the time, Huang Liman stated that the decision to pursue rural urbanization came ten years after the establishment of the SEZ, restricting the city’s development.
2005 福田区渔农村爆破拆除 (Demolition and relocation of Yunong Village, Futian) The demolition of Yunong Village, Futian was the “first explosion” in renovating Shenzhen’s urban villages (城中村). With that explosion, everyone knew that this was the first explosion in the country, symbolizing the decision to push forward programs to renovate urban villages.
[2005 was also the year that the housing market exploded, with prices doubling within a six month period. Soon the real estate webs would begin speaking of “mortgage slaves” even as purchasing a home increasing symbolized a man’s commitment to marriage and family. A few years later, “naked marriages” became the sign of “true love”.]