A workers’ dormitory at the former site of a state-owned factory in Chongqing, Sichuan Province

Unreal Estate and China’s Collective Unconscious

A workers’ dormitory at the former site of a state-owned factory in Chongqing, Sichuan Province

This copper factory was originally founded in 1905 by the late Qing government. During the Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), the plant was turned into an arsenal by the Nationalist government. In the socialist era, the plant remained a major base for producing military and electrical equipment. During that time, it was highly desirable to work for a factory, particularly a major heavy industrial plant such as this one. Workers and their families had the privilege of living inside the factory compound and enjoyed superior housing, schooling, healthcare, and other services. The site was sold to condominium developers in the early 2000s, and the former residents were evicted with minimal compensation. 

Chongqing, Sichuan Province, 2012