Thursday 14 November 2019

Five-storey house in middle of motorway in China is demolished

The house stood in the middle of a new main road on the outskirts of Wenling city in east China's Zhejiang province
The house stood in the middle of a new main road on the outskirts of Wenling city in east China's Zhejiang province
Excavators tear down the house

Rob Williams

A five-storey home, left standing in the middle of a new motorway after the owners refused to move, has been demolished by Chinese authorities.

Duck farmer, Luo Baogen, 67, had refused to allow the property to be demolished after complaining that the compensation officials had offered was too low.

As a consequence, the building was left standing in the middle of the new motorway, and drivers were forced to take a route around it.

The building, which had become a symbol of Chinese homeowners' resistance to what they say are unfair offers of compensation, amid a programme of forced demolitions, has now been levelled after agreement was reached with Mr Luo.

The story of Mr Luo's refusal to move his family from the house, which is located in the city of Wenling, in Zhejiang province, gained international attention and images of the property and its unique location were published across the internet.

Photographs of the building went viral on Chinese social media websites.

However, Xiayangzhang village chief, Chen Xuecai, said the house was bulldozed after the couple agreed to accept compensation of 260,000 yuan, or £26,000.

Mr Luo reportedly left the property voluntarily, after becoming tired of the media attention generated by his stand against the authorities: "Luo Baogen received dozens of people from the media every day and his house stands in the centre of the road. So he decided to demolish the house," Chen Xuecai said.

Luo was reported to have refused the offer of compensation last week but changed his mind after meeting officials on Friday, saying: "Alright, I'm willing to move," according to the China News Network.

Property owners in China that refuse to move for new developments are known as Dingzihu, which means 'Nail House', in a reference to a nail that is difficult to remove from wood.

The practice of refusing to leave properties earmarked for demolition is becoming increasingly common in China due to the country's rapid urbanisation.

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