You might have seen this photograph in the NZ Hearld or The Independent newspaper in the UK. The motorway is in the province of Zhejiang and the couple were not satisfied with the compensation offered to them by the Chinese authorities and decided to stay put – known as ‘nail householders’ referring to how difficult it is to remove a nail from wood.
There was a similar situation in 2007 when a Chinese developer dug around a house in Chongqing city as the resident refused the amount of compensation offered for its demolition. One of the reasons for both these actions is that private individuals must agree before their property is demolished. In 2007 the National People’s Congress (NPC) passed a “property law” which is seen as a historic breakthrough to protect private property to an equal degree as public and collective property. This is the first time in modern China that private property has been protected by law.
“Clearer, enforceable property rights are essential if China’s fantastic 30-year boom is to continue and if the tensions it has generated are to be managed without widespread violence.” The Economist March 8 2007