What would you do if the government wanted to build a road through your house? Would you sell up and relocate or stand in defiance, keep your home and tell the government to stick their motorway where the sun doesn’t shine? It’s a tough decision, but one elderly Chinese couple chose to hold firm with some extraordinary results.
When the Chinese government offered 450 homeowners in the city of Wenling, China, £22,000 each to vacate their properties so a new motorway could be built, most accepted. However Luo Baogen and his wife refused, claiming the government’s offer wasn’t good enough as they’d paid nearly £60,000 to build their home, which featured wood floors, built-in wardrobes, recessed lighting, and views of the countryside.
Compassion obviously wasn’t at the top of the government’s agenda — it ploughed ahead and built a massive road around the property. There, it stood out like a sore thumb, described as a ‘nail house’ because of the way it protruded from the road like a nail sticking out from a wall.
The Baogens remained defiant, with the husband sleeping in one section of the home and his wife in another to prevent the government trying to knock down unoccupied areas while they slept. Eventually, though, they were left with little choice but to move – huge pressure, intense media attention and the prospect of lorries driving through their living room proved too much to take.
According to village chief Chen Xuecai, they capitulated, accepting compensation of just £26,000. The bulldozers moved in, gutted the house and the family – who were once a symbol of resistance to China’s booming construction – have relocated to temporary accommodation.
Ying Jueyou, the Communist party secretary of Xiayangzhang village, where the couple lived, said of Mr Baogen: “He is not some so-called protester, that is just a name the media gave him. He did not agree to move before partly because he was not happy with the compensation, but also because he did not realise the road project required him to leave. He thought it was just another property development project and he could still live there.”
“Now he realises he cannot just stay in the middle of the road and he does not like being called a protester,” he added.
Situations like these aren’t uncommon in China. The country is developing at a rapid pace and very little is allowed to stand in the way of progress.
Via: The Independent