Chinese Official: Buying Houses is a Patriotic Act

January 19, 2009 Updated: January 19, 2009

Wang Aihua, the director of Bureau of City Planning of Hefei, said in a TV program that “buying houses is patriotic action.”

This remark comes in the light of Sun Jinlong’s (Party Chief of Eastern China’s Hefei City, Anhui Province) advocacy to act upon the state policy of expanding domestic demand with action and supporting construction and development in Hefei

On January 12, the TV show “Metropolitan SNG Car” in Hefei Television network aired a live show to promote the local real estate market. Besides Wang, there were other high-profile figures invited to the show, including the director of the Anhui Provincial Architectural Design and Research Institute, office director of the Binhu New Housing Construction and its investment board of directors, and representatives from other construction contractors.

A blogger who saw that show commented that in the show Wang advocated “Buying houses is patriotic action” and stated this slogan had become one of the policies of the Hefei city.

Wang’s statement drew criticism on the Internet. A gateway website did a survey and showed among 30 thousand participants, 96 percent of them considered buying houses and patriotism was a farfetched comparison.

A citizen from Hefei said, “In front of the market rule, ‘house-buying patriotism’ and ‘consuming patriotism’ are pure nonsense.”

A citizen from Guangzhou mocked the remark in a mainland-media interview, “What about buying a cigarette? Is it patriotism as well, since it’s also a form of consuming and brings up domestic demand?”

A while ago Zhao Xiao, a researcher at the China Center for Economic Research at the Beijing University, also advocated that buying a house is an act of patriotism. Li Zhe, a member of the Beijing City Political Consultative Committee even suggested “starting a movement of patriotic consuming to expand domestic demand, in order to save Chinese economy.”

But, when the Chinese Communist Party has not proposed solutions for social security, educational reform and medical reform, it holds back those who want to consume.

A Chinese blogger wrote, “The housing price skyrocketed in recent years thanks to the real estate speculators. A middle class citizen will have to save for a dozen years without eating in order to buy a small apartment, let alone the majority of people who don’t make as much. It is not that people don’t want to consume and buy houses; they just don’t have expendable cash. Even if they do, they want to save it for retirement, medical expenses, and basic living needs.”

Read the original article in Chinese