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Bizarre rooftop villa in Beijing ordered to be torn down

August 13, 2013|By Shan Li

A strange and elaborate stone villa perched atop an apartment building in Beijing has caught the attention of authorities there who have ordered the structure be torn down.

Dubbed "the most outrageous illegal structure" by local media, the sprawling fortress resembles the top portion of a mountain peak, complete with trees, shrubbery and piles of rocks, that just happens to be fused onto the roof of a 26-story apartment complex.

It has been seized upon by the Chinese public and media as yet another example of the willingness of the country's uber-wealthy to flout rules and usually get away with it.

The owner, a businessman in the traditional Chinese medicine industry, spent six years building the 8,600-square-foot villa despite complaints by neighbors who said it was causing problems with the building's pipe system and structural integrity, according to the Associated Press.

Other neighbors reportedly complained about raucous nighttime parties. One resident in the building told the AP that the owners usually did renovations at night and ignored concerns by anyone living in the floors below.

"He could care less about my complaints," the resident said.

Authorities in Beijing finally ordered that the structure be torn down within 15 days after Chinese newspapers and other media published photos of the sprawling rooftop mansion this week.

The owner, who also holds the penthouse floor of the building, told the Beijing Times that he would obey orders to tear it down. He defended himself by calling his creation "just an ornamental garden."

Illegal construction such as the "ornamental garden" are rampant all over China. The public outrage over such rule breaking comes at a time when President Xi Jinping has promised to rein in corruption.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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