A lone apartment building stands in the middle of a newly built road after an elderly couple refused to relocate. Luo Baogen and his wife insist on living in the half-demolished building in the city of Wenling, in Zhejiang province, China because they believe that the relocation compensation offered by the government is not enough.
Now the only building left standing, the five storey block is a strange sight as cars drive around it while the couple remain living inside.
To ensure the couple’s safety, adjacent rooms in the building have been left intact but all their neighbours have moved out, according to local media.
The road paved through the Xiazhangyang village leads to the Wenling railway station and is yet to be officially opened.
Mr Baogen and his wife believe that the compensation on offer would not be enough to cover their rebuilding costs.
In the People’s Republic of China, during most of the Communist era, private ownership of property was abolished, making it easy for residents to be moved on – but now the laws have been tightened up and it is illegal to demolish property by force without an agreement.
Property owners in China that refuse to move to make way for development are known as ‘Nail Householders’ referring to a stubborn nail that is not easy to remove from a piece of old wood and cannot be pulled out with a hammer.
Earlier this year, Hong Chunqin, 75, and her husband Kung, who live in the two dilapidated buildings with their two sons, had initially agreed to sell the property in Taizhou, in Zhejiang province and accepted £8,000 in compensation.
But then she changed her mind and refunded the money once work on the road had started.
Earlier this year, Niu Chuangen and Zhang Zhongyun dared to stand in the way of a local property developer in Zaozhuang, in the Shandong province.
As a result, the resolute couple, both in their 60s, have been left stranded on their tiny spot of land, while all around them the ground is dug up and skyscrapers erected.
The distraught pair were regularly threatened by gangsters and have had to fend over a number of attempts to illegally demolish their ramshackle home.
They were cut off from utilities in 2009 when a local developer started the enormous earthworks involved in building dozens of high-rise residential buildings in the area.
In another case, one family among 280 others at the site of a six storey shopping mall being built in Chongqing refused to leave their home for two years.
Developers cut their power and water, and excavated a 10-meter deep pit around their home, which their family had inhabited for three generations.
The owners broke into the construction site, reoccupied it, and flew a Chinese flag on top and then Yang Wu, a local martial arts champion, used nunchakus to make a staircase to the house and threatened to beat any authorities who attempted to evict him.
The owners turned down an offer of £300,000 but eventually settled with the developers in 2007.
Jordan Shepherd | Elite.