The Toughest Nail Houses of China

Dec 13, 2012 6 comments

Remember the Chinese homeowner Luo Baogen and his wife, who refused to move his house to make way for a redevelopment project? The house stands no longer. The five-story home, which had stood alone in the middle of a road for more than a year, was demolished on December 1, Saturday morning in Wenling, in east China's Zhejiang Province. 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 of 260,000 yuan (£26,000). The razing comes just a week after images of the house circulated widely online triggering a flurry of domestic and foreign media reports.


During most of the Communist era in China, private ownership of property was abolished, making it easy for residents to be moved. But now the laws have been tightened up and it is illegal to demolish property by force without an agreement. The government usually approach home owners with their standard offer of 220,000 (£22,000) to move out. Often this is inadequate for owners who spend several times more in building their homes. Despite this, most people accept the compensation but some refuse.

Mr Luo, 67, who had just completed his house at a cost of about 600,000 yuan, had refused. The offer then went up to 260,000 yuan last week. It was not clear why Luo accepted the compensation now when the amount of money offered was the same as a week ago.

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 being violently bulldozed.

Let us look at some of the toughest nail houses all over China.


Luo Baogen house before it was demolished on December 1, 2012.


Luo Baogen’s house that stood in the middle of the newly built road in Wenling, China, demolished by excavators on December 1, 2012. (Reuters/China Daily)



Another nail house in the center of a construction site for new apartment buildings in Chongqing. The owners are trying to get more compensation before giving permission to demolish the house. (REUTERS / China Daily)


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 on March 23, 2007. It was hailed as the “coolest nail household in history”. The owners are a couple named Yang Wu and Wu Ping who have refused to move out and make way for a local real estate company. They finally reached an agreement with the company and their house was demolished in April.


In these pictures we see the demolition of nail house in Guangzhou January 8, 2008. The home owners sued the construction company for what they offered was too little compensation, but they lost the case. (REUTERS / Joe Tan)


A nail house with an area of ​​3000 sq.m. The last building standing at the site prepared for the construction of a new residential complex in Hefei. The owner refused to move out because of differences in compensation. (REUTERS / Stringer / Files)


A residential building collapsed in Nanwan street, Shenzhen on Feb 21, but its residents haven't reached agreements on relocation plan.


Several nail houses block the traffic in Songjiang district, Shanghai on March 22, 2011.


On July 4, 2010, Huangnichuan village, Liaoning Province, a three-meter-high house where Yu Zhixun lives seems built in a big pit. Around his house is the building site.


A nail house stands still at Yongji streeet, Jindong district, Zhejiang Province on Dec 23, 2010.


A nail house stands in Shuguang West Road, Chaoyang district, Beijing on Dec 16, 2010.


Unable to reach an agreement with relocation side, the owner of a nail house hoisted a QQ car to the top of house with a crane in Inner Mongolia on March 26, 2010.


A nail house stands erect in Liede village, Guangzhou Province on Nov 28, 2007.


The nail house before a commercial building in Changsha, Hunan province on Nov 14, 2007.


On the top photo - House of Wu Yang in 2004. Young refused to sell it, then the construction company just dug a huge trench around the house for the new project. Young made his way to the construction site, somehow got to his house and picked up on the roof the Chinese flag. In the picture below: the same place, only this time without a home Young. (ROBERT SAIGET / AFP / Getty Images)




Sources: China Daily, Telegraph, The Atlantic


  1. No, COURAGEOUS people. Read the story, dummy! They spent 3 times on their homes what they're being offered! By companies that have the $! Their neighbors, who left early, got even less. It's called "negotiating" & if you cave in too soon, you lose!

  2. Love it! Don't get pushed around by evil giant corporations.

  3. new comment every year lol

  4. In spain you have NO legal rights, as the government will seize your house and pay you the tax value of the property - which is usually a 10th of the market value. If it is for a development, it stands very much the same, as ALL developments is part of the STATE (be local or regional) planning board you have NO rights.

  5. They are brave, really really brave

  6. What a world we live in.


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