Chinese “Nail House” Owner Gives In

A few days ago, I blogged about a Chinese homeowner who refused to give up his house to a local government that sought to force him out in order to build a road on the site. It now appears that he has agreed to sell the house for the price offered by the government, which is likely far below the true value of the property:

A five-story home that had been left as the only house in the middle of a highway was demolished Friday after becoming a worldwide sensation and the latest symbol of the frequent resistance by Chinese homeowners who are forced to make way for massive infrastructure projects. The house was demolished Saturday after the owners, a duck farmer and his wife, agreed to accept the $41,000 compensation, according to the Associated Press. The owner had previously said he had spent $95,000 to complete the house.

In China, homes left standing amid a big development are known as “nail houses” because they’re difficult to remove, points out Xinhua, noting that this one had been dubbed the toughest of all nail houses. The owner refused to move for more than a year. It’s unclear why the relocation offer was accepted now…

It is difficult to say whether the sale was truly “voluntary” or whether he yielded to pressure tactics. Regardless, the controversy over the Chinese government’s forcible displacement of millions of people for development projects – often with little or no compensation – is likely to continue.