Daily Buzz

Lone home stands in middle of road after farmer refuses to move

The Chinese village demolished the rest of the houses and paved a wide motorway, but didn't divert it around a house

Luo Baogen, a duck farmer, and his wife refuse to move even if their house will cause headaches for drivers because it is smack-dab in the middle of a brand new Chinese road.

The five-storey structure looks strange rising from the freshly laid black asphalt, without houses on either side. On the upside, they do have the nicest house on the street.

The rest of the neighbourhood was demolished to make way for a road heading to a new train station on the outskirts of Wenling in Zhejiang province, but the Lous didn't take the government's offer.

The owner had just spent about $95,000 to complete the house so when the government approached him with the standard offer of $35,000, he refused. The offer currently stands at $41,000, but Lou isn't moving out.

"We want a new house on a two-unit lot with simple interior decoration," he told local reporters.

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Xiayangzhang village chief Chen Xuecai told The Associated Press that city planners decided to move the village of about 1,600 and most of the families took the government offer in 2007. Luo and a few others are holding out for more.

"The Luo family is not rich," Chen said. "But the policy is what it is."

The road was finished recently and is supposed to open to traffic soon.

Lou and his house are the latest symbols of resistance to governments that offer far too little in compensation for homeowners who must move to accommodate developments. Houses like these are called "nail houses" because the homeowners refused to be hammered down. People in these homes often keep 24-hour vigils because developers won't bulldoze a building with people inside.

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Lou and his wife are taking a similar tactic. They sleep in rooms on opposite ends of the house to deter partial demolition. In such instances the authorities often cut the water or electricity, but Luo told local reporters his lights are still on and the water is flowing.

That's because, as you can see in the photo, there is a hydro pole in the middle of the road as well. I wonder if the builders of the road in China had anything to do with these people from Quebec? The Quebec builders gained a lot of attention earlier this week, when a miscommunication led to a pole being erected in the middle of a highway, forcing motorists to swerve around it.

(AFP photo)

With files from The Canadian Press

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