Kunming "Nail House" Entrenched by Deep Moat,Windows Shot through


Chinese Society  Updated:Sat, Oct 30, 2010 07:11 AM   By Bernd Chang


Nail House

On October 28, developer dug the ditch around Zhao's house and subsequent rains have filled it with water, creating a moat that Zhao must cross to leave or return to his house. 

A Kunming household has been made without water and electricity since October 21, their lone apartment building was surrounded by a watery moat dug by property developers who want them to move out.

Kunming, October 30 - The family says that somebody even shot a bullet through one of their windows in an effort to get them to leave, according to a Yunnan Net report yesterday.

The report called Zhao's building a "nail house" (钉子户), the Chinese term for isolated homes whose tenants refuse to leave an area planned for development. The term first gained attention in China and abroad in 2007 when an especially pronounced case in Chongqing became widely discussed in Chinese media and on BBS sites.

The Kunming standoff began when a 53-year-old man identified only by the family name Zhao saw the amount of money developers were offering in compensation for his apartment in a six-story building in the west-central Zhaojiadui neighborhood.

The development company in question was not identified in the report.

Zhao says he refused to sign the agreement on grounds that the developers had misclassified the land in order to offer an illegally low sum to owners in the apartment complex they are redeveloping.

He continued to live in the apartment with his wife and 83-year-old mother as all the other buildings in the complex were destroyed, leaving his building alone in an expanse of cleared land.

As the impasse between Zhao and the developers remained unresolved, the developers took action. On October 21 they dug a ditch around his house, knocking out the home's electrical and plumbing connections in the process, Zhao said.

They subsequently made the ditch wider and deeper and recent rains have filled it with water, creating a moat that Zhao must cross to leave or return to his house.

Kunming police have been called in to investigate Zhao's situation after a hole that may have been made by a bullet appeared in a window a few days ago.
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