Square "nail household" seeks round solution

By Jeff Pan (Chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2007-03-23 17:08

Right in the middle of an excavated construction pit near the light rail station Yangjiaping in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality stands lonely a two-storied brick building, whose pictures have been widely spread on the web forums, and has in turn caught national attention beyond the Internet.

It was hailed as the "coolest nail household in history" since the owner, a couple named Yang Wu and Wu Ping, have refused to move out and make way for a local real estate company despite the fact that all their neighbors have given in and the court has ruled a deadline of March 22 for them to tear it down.

On the afternoon of March 21, Yang Wu, a local Kungfu contest champion, managed to return to the isolated house by building some instant staircases with his nunchakus from the bottom of the over ten-meter-deep construction site, demonstrating his determination to stay.

Right in the middle of an excavated construction pit near the light rail station Yangjiaping in Southwest China's Chongqing stands lonely a two-storied brick building. [qq.com] Click here for more pictures of the "nail household"

For the Yangs, September 5, 2004 is an important day, when they read a note ordering them to move out within a month. According to some of the former residents, the area used to be the only restaurant street in the region, but with most of the houses built in the 1940s, the street was already very dilapidated, when a reconstruction project was launched two year ago.

As compensation, the 281 families originally living in the area could either get another house or cash. According to an evaluation report, Yang's building could worth 2.47 million yuan (US$ 320,000).

The developer set up an office in the area coordinating compensation problems in August 2004. "It went on pretty smoothly. Except the Yang Wu family, all the other 281 residents moved out," said Wang Wei, Director of the Developing Department of Zheng Sheng Bailaohui Real Estate Co., "We have made at least 40 contacts with him in the past two years or so, but never coming up with a solution."

Wang recalled that they first made contact with Wu Ping in September 2004, when Wu requested both a new house and a more than six-million yuan (US$777,000) cash compensation. The developer did not consider Wu's demand as reasonable and turned her down. "After a string of fruitless contacts, we finally filed a lawsuit against them." The court has ordered Yang and Wu to move out of the house on March 22. However, as of now, no action has been taken yet.

Property Law expert: they should move if the compensation is reasonable

Though the newly passed Property Law is yet to become effective, the "nail house" has been widely considered the first case the law should apply to. However, Professor Jiang Ping, the team leader on drafting the Property law did not think the law should apply in this case. "The reason the Wu family refused to move is that they don't think it is related to public interest, but that is just her claim," said Jiang, "now that the court has issued the order, then the order should be executed."

However, a court-set deadline for her to relent passed on Thursday but the 49-year-old Wu, dubbed the "stubborn nail" by Chinese media, vowed to fight on in a case that has highlighted the widespread property disputes in China.

Wu: I am not stubborn or unruly

"I'm not stubborn or unruly, I'm just trying to protect my personal rights as a citizen. I will continue to the end," Wu was quoted as saying in the state-run Legal Daily on Friday.

According to a survey by QQ.com, 81.46% of the netizens back up the house owner to protect his property, while 10.84% deem the issue as too complicated to come up with an idea, and 7.10% consider the house owner as "stubborn nails".

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