Recently, I found I often run into conflicts with safeguards – the safeguard at my residential area and the safeguard at the place where I had worked. Actually, this is very similar to the story of the mason in my post The World with Different Rules
The Story of the Safeguard
Many weeks ago, I went to Metro Tower to pickup stuff of Wendy. The safeguard closed the entrance to the load/unload area, and do not allow me to stop before the load area. He even ignored the fact that I just paid 30 RMB for parking at the parking lot, and just wanted to drive into the load/unload area.
I asked “Why as tenant of the building, why we cannot use the load area to pickup personal stuff – pretty heavy box”. This was his answer that drove me crazy:
“This is our company’s place. We do whatever we want. It is none of your business.”
The same situation happens with the property management company. The safeguards there obviously treat their manager’s order higher than any residents, and they think they are policeman, and the residents are people who they manage.
The “real” policemen in China, and government officials hold that kind of stupid attitude, and think they are the ruler, and all others are just fellow common people. I believe that takes longer to change, since it is definitely a political reform, and that cost time. But what surprises me is, in the private property like residential area, and office building, the property management company holds the same view.
It is obviously not productive when I explain to them how it works – they just don’t listen and laughed at me “Who you think you are?” was the typical answer.
This is how I see it.
Take the residential area as example. The real estate development company pays the government (ridiculously high) price to get 70 years of usage right of the land. The real estate company borrow money to build the house. Then they sell it, and transfer the right of the land to the owners of the house (unlike in most countries, in China, house owners still don’t own the land, they just own the usage right of 70 years, and the land still belongs to the government, but this is irrelevant in this case). The certificate of that right is called “Big Certificate of Property” 大产证. Then each house owner has the certificate for their small unit, called “Small Certificate of Property”.
Simply put, the residents collectively are the owners of the whole area.
The owners hires the management company to manage the property, but all rights, including the car parking lots, and all the money in the bank account for maintaining the property, belong to the house owners. Not the property management company, and of cause not the safeguard.
The funny situation is, very few people really understand it. (Correct me if I am wrong here) I asked many of my friends (who are the house owners) and they cannot tell the whole story. I am not that surprised to see most of safeguards don’t know it.
So, that is the conflict. The safeguard thinks they are the Owner of the Place, and I think I am. When the two owners see each other, conflicts are inevitable.
People are talking about political reform. But I am more concerned with the democracy on the residential area level. Before many people understand how private property works, and understand who are the owner, it is hard for people to really understand that the common people are the owners of this country, not someone else.