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Video shows 15 high-rises blasted to smithereens in China's Kunming

15 high-rise buildings in Kunming worth US$154 million obliterated within 45 seconds

15 high-rises in Kunming pulverized by explosions. (Weibo screenshot)

15 high-rises in Kunming pulverized by explosions. (Weibo screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Video surfaced on Friday (Aug. 27) showing 15 high-rise buildings pulverized into dust by massive explosions in Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan Province.

On Friday, 15 high-rise towers that were part of the Liyang Star City Phase II project and had been sitting unfinished for eight years were demolished with explosives. The demolition, viewed by tens of thousands of onlookers, took 45 seconds to obliterate 1 billion Chinese yuan (US$154 million) worth of property.

According to China's state-run Xinhua News, 4.6 tons of explosives were placed at 85,000 blasting points in the buildings. On the day of the explosions, about 2,000 households accounting for more than 5,300 people were evacuated.

Construction of the 15 towers on the 340-acre property was started by the Kunming Xishan Land and Housing Development and Operation (Group) Co. in 2011. The project was divided into four plots identified as A1, A2, A3, and A4.

However, due to a lack of capital, the Yunnan Tin Industry Real Estate Development and Management Co. took over the project in 2012. Due to various factors, construction was halted again in 2013.

Although work was continued on buildings in A2 and completed in 2015 (one year behind schedule), work on the 15 structures in A1, A3, and A4 never resumed. The government attempted to restart the project by listing it on the Yunnan Provincial Property Rights Exchange.

On Dec. 29, 2020, Yunnan Honghe Real Estate Co. purchased the rights to take over the project for 979 million yuan. According to Min News, the buildings were marked for demolition because the development could no longer meet market demand, and the long period of neglect had allowed rainwater to flood the foundations of the buildings, inflicting irreparable damage.

The blast zone covered an estimated 500,000 square meters, which according to the Liberty Times is the largest such demolition blast area in China to date. After the dust settled, one tower was still standing at an angle like the "Leaning Tower of Pisa," prompting some Chinese netizens to joke that it was the "strong building."

Engineers said that more explosives are not necessary to take down the remaining tower and that mechanical demolition will be used instead.