"Nail house" in southwest China demolished
A Chinese couple's battle to stop developers from razing their home has
finally come to an end with a negotiated agreement that nevertheless saw
demolition of their house in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality begin last
Wu Ping and Yang Wu, the owner of the only two-storey brick building
still standing in the development zone, left their house on yesterday afternoon,
according to local sources.
As compensation, they accepted an apartment in
the Shapingba district of downtown Chongqing, similar in size to their old one,
local sources said.
Their former 219-square-meter house has been dubbed the
"nail house" because it refused to be hammered down. The duo have been fighting
off bulldozers there since 2004, when developers pleaded with them and another
280 households to make way for a shopping mall.
But the compensation proposed
by the developer -- 18,000 yuan (US$2,308) per square meter -- fell short of
The other residents left one after another, leaving
the building standing like a fortress surrounded by a 17-metre deep construction
site. In the last couple of months it has been the focus of media
"I wanted to safeguard my dignity and lawful rights," said Wu
Yang said that the house, formerly a wooden building and re-built in
1993, was handed down through several generations. It was used as a variety
store and then leased to become a restaurant.
A local court ruled on March 19
that the couple must move out of the house before March 22, but the furious Yang
forced his way back into the house and took up residence there again.
brought him food, water and quilts. They were tied to a green rope so that Yang
could pull them up to where he was, marooned in the house on top of a
While the husband flew a national flag to demonstrate his
determination on the "island", his wife held "press conferences" for media and
audiences on the construction site.
Huang Yun, head of the Jiulongpo District
where the house was located, said on Saturday that the local government would
mediate and help resolve the dispute in a "fair, just and lawful way".
local residents were sympathetic to the couple, but noted that "common people
can't win against developers". "We shouldn't make trouble for the government,"
said Li Deshun, an old man living nearby.
Experts believe that the outcry
reflects a growing dissatisfaction among common people about the way sites are
commandered and buildings demolished. On China's portal websites like sina, 85
percent of those polled showed support for the couple.
China passed its
landmark property law last month, highlighting the protection of private
property. "Let's hope the new law reduces such disputes," said Zhao Wanyi,
professor at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law.
demolition started at 7 p.m. yesterday and is expected to last till about 2 a.m.
today. The work is progressing slowly as the "nail house" yields inch by inch.