The Ghastly Tale of Guangzhou’s ‘Suicide Shopping Plaza’

By Jocelyn Richards and Lena Gidwani, October 10, 2017

3 0

Tales from the Chinese Crypt is a regular web column exploring bizarre and creepy stories from across China.

Many Cantonese see it as no coincidence that the cursive-like character ‘guang’ (广) outside of Liwan Plaza in Guangzhou bears an uncanny resemblance to the word for corpse (尸). Since 2004, about a dozen suicides have occurred on the premises (the most recent occuring this past April), with some witnesses claiming that a supernatural force seemingly pushed victims over the railings.

The mall’s deadly curse, according to local residents, began many years ago, when it was first constructed. If you’ve ever watched Poltergeist, you’ll know never to build on ancient burial grounds, but you wouldn’t expect a bunch of real estate developers to know that, would you?

Home to a Qing Dynasty sacrificial chamber, inspectors failed to notice eight empty coffins when erecting Liwan Plaza, now a large jewelry market near Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. Unearthed during construction, some say the coffins were the cradle of strange noises and mysterious deaths that kept storefronts ruinously empty. 

To counteract the malevolence, architects made the building resemble an octagon, like the bagua.

Eventually, a Taoist priest informed landlords that the empty coffins had originally been buried to thwart evil influences. The catch was that they were not to be disturbed for a thousand years. Whoops.

Liwan-Corpse-Plaza-Guangzhou

Since then, several ‘accidents’ have been reported – many on the fifth floor. At least two of the landlords that managed the plaza have allegedly died suddenly of unknown causes, according to some online bloggers.

Despite Guangzhou’s toasty climate, Chinese netizens claim it’s always a few degrees cooler in Liwan Plaza. And just walking through the building at night, they say, brings a chilling feeling of despair.

As with most supernatural affairs, however, no concrete evidence exists to prove the plaza is haunted. Skeptics argue the prevalence of suicides there could be due to Liwan Plaza’s infamous reputation or insensitive media coverage – both of which may facilitate successive suicidal acts.

Regardless, the building’s occupants now mostly consist of non-local business owners happy to make a quick buck while the 'silent' run amok.

Enjoy this story? Click here for more Tales from the Chinese Crypt.

[Cover image via Shadday Studios (WeChat: shadymonkey), in-text image via i.pinimg.com

more news

This Day in History: Aleister Crowley Summons Demon in Shanghai

In 1906, the occultist, mystic, magician and self-proclaimed Beast 666 came to Shanghai to summon his Holy Guardian Angel...

Getting Moderately Deep With... An Assistant Chef at a Beijing Duck Restaurant

In our monthly series 'Getting Moderately Deep With... ' we ask a food vendor tough questions. Well, sort-of tough.

Chinese Urban Dictionary: Renshe

That person you see yourself as on social media is called renshe, which means "character design."

10 Tips to Help You Survive the Canton Fair

Here are the top 10 tips to making your inaugural experience as profitable and worthy as possible.

Turning the Tables: A Look Inside China's Vinyl Culture

The last decade has seen a total resurgence of vinyl culture in the West, but records have taken a different track here in China.

This Day in History: The Rolling Stones First-Ever China Show

Keith Richards: 'I feel like Marco Polo!'

How Blockchain Technology in China Is Reshaping These 3 Fields

Paperless protection is a game changer for more than just the financial industry.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsGuangzhou for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Guangzhou With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's PRD!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.