CNC report from Zhejiang
Added On November 26, 2012
In China, houses which stick out and are difficult to remove are dubbed "nail houses".
The term comes into being as demolition becomes a thorny issue across the country.
But the fate of the so-called toughest "nail house" indicates signs of change in the tug-of-war between governments, home owners and developers.
This five-storey brick house is standing alone in the middle of a new main road. All cars have to drive around it as they pass by.
Netizens have dubbed the house in Wenling, Zhejiang province, the toughest "nail house".
The building has become a stubborn "nail" there for more than a year although all its neighbors were bulldozed, some at night, with their owners forced out. All these is to make room for construction projects.
This is not rare in China. With rapid urbanization, forced demolition has become a practice that has triggered protest and discontent among the public.
In the capital Beijing, the Chinese character "Chai" - or demolish - is often seen on brick walls of old alleyway courtyard homes.
In the past, authorities and developers paid only a small compensation for relocation. But as property prices soared, home owners' demand also grew. So did the number of "nail houses".
The 67-year-old Luo Baogen lives in the house with his wife.
He says he holds on because the government's offer is only about 41,000 U.S. dollars, less than half of what his house is worth.
But the township government spokesman says Luo's demand is beyond the compensation standard and can't be met.
The spokesman says the government has already offered subsidized housing for relocated families at a price of about 320 dollars per square meter.
However, the spokesman and other officials say they will not force the old couple to move.
Unlike most "nail house" owners who have been forced out by daily necessity supplies being cut off, the family still have electricity and water supplies.
Despite the safety concern, netizens and experts are able to see the positives.
A micro-blogger on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo site says he would like to see more such nail houses because it means the government has begun to respect private property.
A lawyer says the way the government has dealt with this house shows progress in China's rule-of-law and may serve as an example.
China unveiled the country's landmark property law in 2007.
President Hu Jintao reiterated in a report at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that the party will pay more attention to the role the rule-of-law plays in governance of society.
A researcher with the Academy of Social Sciences of Zhejiang says the government, the house owner and the developer are all equal. And they should resolve disputes through negotiations.
The researcher says the government shouldn't sacrifice people's well-being for construction of public projects.
He says a better compensation deal with interests of all parties being considered should be made.
Last year, China's State Council, or cabinet, published a regulation on expropriation and compensation of houses on state-owned land.
It replaced the old rule that had seen authorizing local governments enforce demolition at their own will.
According to the new regulation, if the government can not reach agreement on the expropriation or compensation with homeowners, demolition can only be carried out after a court's review and approval.
Toughest "nail house"
Added On November 26, 2012