Rumors from Shanghai

It's 1940 when Tolt Gross, an African-American law graduate, arrives in booming Shanghai from the provincial backwater of Seattle. He has accepted a senior role managing the Asia operations of a US flour company, a position with responsibility and status rarely available to a Black man in America. But the job comes with a humiliating precondition - he must report to a man who despises him.

Once in Shanghai, Chinese and Japanese friends of his from college, introduce Tolt to the delights of Shanghai's social and nightlife, flourishing despite Japan's invasion of China three years earlier, but in the middle of the hard work and hard play, Tolt stumbles on a secret plan that Japan is developing to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which could destroy his life and much much more. How to give the alarm? Would anyone believe a warning from a Black man in Shanghai?

Available now!

Real Property Law in China

Written for legal professionals who deal with foreign investments and real property transactions in China, this book discusses the key laws and regulations relevant to foreign investment in various types of transactions involving real property rights and to illustrate the application of those laws through an examination of exemplar projects.

Pre-War Shanghai was known for its cosmopolitan and rich mix of architectural styles, reflecting the diverse population drawn to the city. Many of these buildings remain standing to this day – not in pristine condition, but in almost-original condition with little change or maintenance having occurred in the last 60 years.

Of the residential buildings, which were originally built as single-family dwellings, significant portions are now divided into housing for 5 to 8 families. The occupants share common areas and the buildings have not been maintained.

Similarly, high-end apartments constructed in the 1930’s have often had units sub-divided such that in cases where a building originally constructed with 194 apartments today houses 2000 people. In sum, Shanghai’s formerly chic residences have sunk into disrepair and decay. As these pre-1949 residences fall into increasing disrepair, they become vulnerable to demolition and replacement by new high-rise complexes.

Doing Business in China: Real Estate Chapter

Written by experts well-versed in the myriad of issues involved in the Chinese marketplace, Corporate Counsel's Guide to Doing Business in China addresses most major issues that must be confronted before making the decision to do business in the ever-changing legal landscape of the PRC. User-friendly guidance addresses the methods of doing business in China, either by operating in the country or by contracting with Chinese enterprises. Features include: A look at the laws governing joint ventures, corporations, tax, and products; A review of standard contract and finance laws.

A Tragedy of the Commons: Property Rights Issues in Shanghai Historic Residences

This article explores the tensions between China’s newly privatized model of urban housing ownership and its socialist foundations. Through a combination of interviews and local research, the authors investigate the evolution of property ownership in Shanghai’s architecturally-distinctive stock of historic housing, encompassing various architectural periods and styles (including leading examples of Art Deco), which have gone through periods of private ownership (pre-1949), gradual socialization (1949-1965), militant squatting and occupation (1966-1976), and now privatization (1977 to current). Originally single-family residences, many were gerrymandered into multi-family units, in which the original owner/resident was relegated a small portion of space, and the remainder divided (by governmental assignment or squatting) among other residents. Now that land values in Shanghai have risen, there is increased interest in selling or renovating these houses (which are located in key sites in central Shanghai) or redeveloping the sites. However, the rights to develop or transfer these properties remain complicated due to ongoing issues regarding the rights of the original owners versus later residents/squatters. In the face of this impasse, a dynamic known as “the tragedy of the commons” has developed in which none of the parties has assumed responsibility for maintaining and improving the buildings or their common areas. As these formerly majestic pre-1949 residences increasingly fall into disrepair, they become vulnerable to demolition and replacement by shiny, new complexes. Unfortunately, if events follow this path, Shanghai will lose a key part of its architectural character and flavor.

© 2020 by Alex Britton. Proudly created with WIX.COM