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No longer living in the fast lane: Elderly Chinese couple finally give in and let bulldozers pull down their house after motorway was built around it
Elderly couple refused to have their home demolished, saying the compensation offered was not enough
But they are thought to have accepted an increased amount from the Chinese GovernmentHouse became a symbol of resistance against authorities that often pressure residents into making way for developers
15:47 GMT, 1 December 2012
At five storeys high, it stood in the middle of a newly-built motorway as a symbol of resistance.
But after refusing to relocate while authorities built a giant road around their home, an elderly Chinese couple has finally admitted defeat.
In front of a crowd of onlookers, bulldozers and diggers moved in to tear the stubborn house to the ground.
Luo Baogen and his wife previously insisted on staying
in the half-demolished building in the city of Wenling, Zhejiang
province, because they believed that the relocation compensation
offered by the government was not enough.
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Beginning of the end: Work began on the house's deconstruction on Saturday in the city of Wenling, Zhejiang province. It is understood the couple finally accepted a compensation deal to relocate
Tumbling down: Onlookers gather to watch the house being demolished. It had become a symbol of resistance against developers
Standing strong: Luo Baogen, 67, who lived in the house on the outskirts of Wenling in east China's Zhejiang province, previously refused to leave as he said the compensation offered was no enough
The couple were the only the only remaining occupants of their neighbourhood after the road was constructed to lead to a new rail station on the outskirts of the city.
The road had not yet been officially opened while the couple still lived in the property – a situation that would have made their occupancy even more dangerous.
Duck farmer Luo, 67, had previously refused the Government's paltry compensation of 220,000 yuan (22,000) for relocation. He spent 600,000 yuan (60,000) completing the house.
It is understood that the couple finally accepted an increased offer of 260,000 yuan (26,000) so see their home demolished.
Chinese authorities often pressure residents into accepting compensation packages if their homes are in the way of development projects. Extreme methods, such as cutting off utilities, are often used to hasten the eviction.
But Luo's village chief said that the
man had voluntarily accepted the offer and had tired of the attention
his home was receiving.
Proof: Mr Baogen stands in front of his home holding the certificate that states he owns the land beneath it, meaning that he and his wife could't be forced to move away
King of the road: The house stood strong in the middle of the highway after their entire neighbourhood had been torn down
Calm before the storm: The balcony from Mr Baogen's home looked peaceful, but he was finally forced to move before the road was opened to traffic
Village chief Chen Xuecai said: 'Luo Baogen received dozens of people from the media every day and his
house stands in the center of the road. So he decided to demolish the
To ensure the couple’s safety,
adjacent rooms in the building had been left intact after all their
neighbours had moved out.
Real estate has been a significant driver of the People's Republic of China's economic prowess in recent decades.
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.
Folorn: Mr Baogen looks wistfully across the new scenery, the tarmac from the new road waving haphazardly along the side of the building and demarcating the homeowner's land
Room with a view: Luo Baogen looks out on the new road – yet to be officially opened – from the apartment building where all his neighbours moved out
Thinking laterally: Unperturbed by the couple's decision to remain in the property, developers simply paved around the house
Rapid development has cost tens of thousands of objecting people their homes, as they are eventually forced out
to make way for new housing, factories and other business ventures,
creating a major source of unrest.
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
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.
Isolated: Niu Chuangen and Zhang Zhongyun's home stands on a small parcel of land amid the growing skyscrapers
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.
Refuse to move: Another family initially agreed to sell the property in Taizhou but changed their minds once work on the road had started
Stranded: The couple were left without running water and electricity ground after real estate developers dug out the ground around it
Cannot demolish: During the Communist era, private ownership of property was abolished but now the laws have been tightened up and it is illegal to demolish property by force without an agreement
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.
cut their power and water, and excavated a 10-meter deep pit around
their home, which their family had inhabited for three generations.
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.
And here are some more bizarre building projects from China…
High and dry: A furious family took legal action against property developers in Mianyang, south west China, last year after they demolished every staircase in their seven-storey apartment block in a bizarre bid to make them vacate their top-floor flat so they could build a factory (pictured, top, with the flower boxes and awnings)
That's prime retail estate! With space at premium in the densely populated city of Zhuzhou in central China's Hunan Province, homeowners decided to build these villas on the roof of the Jiutian International Plaza shopping centre, which is home to one of most famous wholesale markets for shoes in the region
Architectural triumph or just plain pants It has been trumpeted as 'a dramatic, iconic gateway' to the East that makes the Arc de Triomphe look like a mere ornament, but critics of he 445m Gate of the East in Suzhou, China, have likened the structure to a giant pair of long johns
Ee bah gum! Majestic, yes. But the gloss was taken off ever so slightly when Beijing's new Phoenix International Media Centre (above) was compared by some observers earlier this year to a huge Yorkshire pudding. The building boasts 65,000sqm of floor space for offices, restaurants and the headquarters of China's Phoenix TV
The world's silliest supertower Towering 328 metres (1,067ft) above the ground, this skyscraper in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, dwarfs everything in its path. It is 18 metres taller than the Shard in London and its closest rival is 600 miles away in Beijing. But that's because it was built in a village of 2,000 FARMERS
A touch out of place, perhaps Near the rice paddies, groves of yellow bamboo and the homes of tens of millions of dirt-poor migrant workers lies this bizarre replica of an Alpine village in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. Unsurprisingly, sales were non-existent when it opened earlier this year
VIDEO: Farmers refuse to budge after motorway is built around their home