The painted 'windows' look real from far away. Photo: Heilongjiang TV

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For many Chinese, buying a home is their dream. But, they must stay alert when it comes to buying a home in China.

Consider the case of Li Yantao, who bought a flat in Harbin in the northern province Heilongjiang in March and received the completed apartment last month. Li found that it was not the flat he was shown in an advertising pamphlet – his flat had no window, according to a nightly news program on a Heilongjiang TV station.

The shocked buyer told media he purchased the flat before it was completed and he made a decision to buy after visiting a showroom. 

Li said the window-less flat was very dim and had affected his mood from the time he moved in.

Even more shocking was that the window “reappeared” a few days later, thanks to innovative painters.

A painter puts ‘windows’ on wall. Photo: Heilongjiang TV

Li said, “the drawing looks so real but I feel that it was odd.”

A designer for the property developer said a ventilation shaft had been built where windows were supposed to go on the building. It was done to comply with a higher anti-fire standard. The same facility did not appear in two other high-rise towers.

The designer said the model displayed in the showroom was made at an early stage and may not reflect details of the actual building after certain adjustments for environmental and fire protection purposes.

Comparison between a real window, left, and a fake one, right. Photo: Heilongjiang TV.

Similar incidents have happened before in other Chinese cities. In 2013, developers were slammed for drawing windows on a state-subsidized housing project in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. The city’s government called the paintings “visual arts”.  

In the same year, city administrators in Jiangxi, a province in the southeast, did the same thing. And netizens “praised” the painters for using a local Chinese art style to finish their task.

Critics say these ridiculous window-painting tricks will definitely be seen again – until new rules are drawn up and enforced to protect the rights of property buyers in China.

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