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Chinese developers host banquet for 15,000 villagers to celebrate new status as flat owners

A massive banquet was held for more than 15,000 people to celebrate villagers moving into new apartment buildings that were completed only after their former homes were demolished, mainland media reports.

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The residents and their families and friends were seated at 1,500 tables laid out in the former Yangji village, in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on Sunday, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

The poorly designed areas, which were dwarfed by skyscrapers, had been providing cheap housing for migrant workers.

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The Yangji village, which stood beside the high-end Zhujiang New Town, was included in a redevelopment project in 2009. But it took the government years to persuade all of the former residents to allow their 1,496 homes to be demolished.

As part of their compensation deals, flats in the new buildings were allocated to them.

Based on the current property prices in Guangzhou, each villager now owns a flat worth about 10 million yuan (HK$11.62 million), the report said.

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The village authority and a property developer paid several million yuan to stage the banquet, the report said.

The residents also enjoyed dances, magic shows and Cantonese opera during the banquet.