Restaurant to hire anti-demolition guard

(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-04 10:46

Restaurant to hire anti-demolition guard
Qin Rong points to her restaurant, one of four buildings standing intact yesterday. [China Daily]
Restaurant to hire anti-demolition guard

A young restaurant owner will hire an "anti-demolition nail" to help stop her business from being demolished on Dec 16.

Qin Rong, 28, owner of Fish Castle Restaurant Bar, said she will pay the person 1,000 yuan a month to help protect her restaurant, which is one of four businesses still standing on a section of Anding road, near the east gate of the National Olympic Sports Center in Yayuncun.

"My restaurant will be torn down by force if I don't move away before Dec 16, so I'm eagerly expecting to hire an anti-demolition guard with 'nail house' experience before the deadline," said Qin.

The term "nail house" is relatively new in China and refers to homeowners that refuse to move away from demolition zones, usually because of a disagreement about compensation. These houses "stick out like a nail."

Qin, who has spent 600,000 yuan on the restaurant since it opened in July 2008, said she still has not been officially notified that her business will be demolished. Her landlord tipped her off to the plans in September, and the water and electricity were switched off on Monday, she said.

She has signed a three-year contract for lease of the restaurant premises. The compensation amount is not specified in the contract.

Qin said she and her boyfriend work full-time and need help to protect the business.

"We want a 24-hour on-duty person with anti-demolition work," she said, adding that the person needs to be physically strong and eloquent when arguing with demolition workers.

Three people have responded to her ad and two more will be interviewed this weekend.

Qin said only four out of 20 businesses remain on the street.

"The four which chose to stay have already invested a total of 4 million yuan in our businesses and we can't afford the huge financial loss of moving away without compensation," Qin said.

She said the landlord, Beijing New Olympic Group Co Ltd, entrusted a new company to manage the rent contract with the tenants so it could avoid financial responsibility.

"I sold my apartment which was financially supported by my parents. The restaurant contains the savings from two generations of my family," said Qin.

"It's written in the contract that we should be paid appropriate compensations if the houses are demolished."

Guo Zaibin, general manager of Beijing New Olympic Group Co Ltd, said several tenants, including Qin, were told in August that the properties would be demolished under a government land acquisition.

"Our company is owned by the government. It was planned by Beijing municipal government," Guo said.

"According to the rental contract, landlords don't need to pay compensation if the land is taken over by the government. The tenants have to take the risk," said Guo.

Li Hao, owner of a rice noodle restaurant near Qin's restaurant, said they felt trapped by the landlord.

"If Beijing New Olympic Group knew the land acquisition plan very early, why did they still rent out the houses and ask for three-year contracts?" said Li.

He said a demolition permit was posted on a government website in early 2007.