• Construction of Disneyland in Shanghai forced nearby factories to close down.

Construction of Disneyland in Shanghai forced nearby factories to close down. (Photo : Reuters)

Officials have ordered the demolition of houses and factories in Shanghai to make way for the newly opened Disneyland theme park.

City authorities were instructed to "clean up the air" in areas close to the popular amusement park, leading to the eviction of "hundreds of residents and dozens of businesses," the South China Morning Post reported.

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The demolition program started as early as 2013 as construction for the theme park inched closer to its target opening in June this year.

In a separate report, the SCMP wrote that drones were used to patrol involved areas to ensure that no illegal buildings were being constructed.

This year, at least 153 factories have been forced to shut down to reduce the air pollution that could repel tourists from coming to see the new Shanghai Disneyland.

Air pollution in the city is not as serious as Beijing's, but it "regularly exceeds levels the World Health Organization says are safe," said the SCMP.

Factory workers have been hit hard by the demolitions.

While homeowners were given compensation for their destroyed houses and moved to a relocation site, wage-earners had a harder time looking for job replacements.

The SCMP noted that a typical workshop employs about 10 to 20 personnel.

However, many of the demolished buildings were illegally built.

"Illegal buildings started to appear in the area 10 years ago as temporary dormitories for construction workers and were not demolished after building projects were completed," according to the SCMP.

Many of these unauthorized facilities were later converted into storage spaces and offices by small manufacturers.

This scenario, however, is not uncommon.

"The story has been repeated thousands of times across China over the past two decades as the communist government removed farmers and small businesses for construction of factories, office towers, hydroelectric dams and other projects," wrote the Chinese newspaper.