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Demolish it

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拆哪 (chāi nǎ): demolish it

Bulldozer with “demolish” written on it, an extension of the bureaucratic arm. (金羊网)

Chāi nǎ mimics the sound of the English word “China.”

“Demolish” (拆 chāi) has a special meaning in contemporary China, as demolitions, often forced on tenants with little or no compensation, are a major source of social instability. Developers and the local government profit greatly from forcibly evicting people from their homes to build on the land. Anger over forced demolitions led the people of Wukan, Guangdong to fight the local government, eventually laying siege to their village in December 2011.

哪 nǎ means “where” or “which.” Hence, Chāi nǎ also sounds like the question “Where/which should be demolished?” mocking the ubiquity of demolition.

Throughout China, 拆 is spray-painted or stenciled on the sides of buildings slated for demolition. People who have had their homes demolished are called 拆迁户 (chāiqiānhù).

Chāi nǎ is included in Linguist Victor Mair's collection of nicknames for China.

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26 December 2014, by Anne Henochowicz

Confusion Over Demolition of Beijing Newsstands

11 August 2014, by Samuel Wade

Twelve Petitioners Attempt Suicide in Beijing

17 July 2014, by Samuel Wade

Officials: Church Demolition Not Attack on Christianity

28 April 2014, by Cindy

Official Puts Demolition Workers On Pedestal

17 April 2014, by Natalie Ornell

Shanghai’s Older Generation Hark Back to Mao

16 April 2014, by josh rudolph

The Tales of Two Temples

11 December 2013, by Samuel Wade

Petitioners Drink Pesticide to Protest Demolition of Homes

11 December 2013, by Sophie Beach

Censorship Vault: Reporter Beaten for Investigating Hunan Nail House

15 November 2013, by Anne Henochowicz

New China Cities: Shoddy Homes, Broken Hope

11 November 2013, by Sophie Beach

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