China / Society

Last house standing goes down in E China

(Xinhua/ Updated: 2012-12-01 17:24

HANGZHOU -- A five-story home, which had stood alone in the middle of a road for more than a year after the owner refused to move out and make way for a redevelopment project, was demolished on Saturday morning in Wenling, in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Last house standing goes down in E China

Once standing alone in the middle of a vast construction site near a railway station in Wenling city of East China's Zhejiang province, the five-story brick house was demolished on Dec 1 after its owner, Luo Baogen, signed a compensation deal with the local government.[Photo by Jin Yunguo/Asianewsphoto]

The bizarre scene, which had achieved notoriety after pictures were posted online, finally disappeared as its owner, Luo Baogen, signed a demolition agreement with the local government on Friday and accepted the compensation.

Luo, 67, and his wife moved away from the lone house before dawn to the relocation site, assisted by relatives.

According to the demolition agreement, the government will offer 260,000 yuan ($41,782) and an area of ground for a new house.

Luo had initially refused the government's standard offer of compensation as he said the sum was less than half the worth of his property.

Homes left solitary like this in the wake of development projects are known in China by the term "nail house," because such buildings stick out and are difficult to remove, like a stubborn nail.

Chinese netizens had dubbed Luo's home the toughest of all nail houses because of the length of time it had avoided the common fate of so many others -- being violently bulldozed.

In 2008, the Wenling government made plans to relocate about 459 households in Xiayangzhang to make way for a main road in front of the city's new railway station. All but Luo accepted the compensation deal and moved out before construction started last year.

In fact, Luo's home retained power and water access, unlike most other nail houses, whose owners are generally forced out by the supply of daily necessities being shut off.

"It was never a final solution for us to live in a lone house in the middle of the road. After the government's explanations, I finally decided to move," said Luo.

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