Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 5:20 PM
translates the word as 'nail house' because "they stick out like nails in an otherwise modernized environment".
Last week Ananova published a story about a very persistent nail house (pictured):
Developers have turned a house into an island in China after the owner refused to move out. The villa now stands alone in a 30ft deep man-made pit in Chongqing city, reports Jinbao Daily.
A photograph of the house in question has been circulating on the Chinese Internet during the last few days. It's posted on the popular Tianya forum: The coolest nail house in history. The post is accompanied by a short description, roughly translated below:
At the beginning of March, a photo called "the coolest nail house in history" stirred up a lot of debate. Within the space of a few days, this photo was widely circulated and posted all over the Internet, and a lot of media as well as the general populace were interested in the affair.
The Tianya post has hundreds of comments representing many different points of view about the Property Law, the evils of state- and privately-owned real estate development, and the the rights of tenants.
The online chatter about property rights makes for an interesting contrast with recent discussion of property rights in the traditional media, for example this story excerpted from The Wall Street Journal:
China Magazine Is Pulled As Property Law Looms
UPDATE: The promising new blog Peering into the Interior has a translation of an interview with the owner of the nail house, Ms Wu Ping: Interview with China's Most Incredible Holdout (use this link if you're in China). Excerpt:
Image of Wu Ping on CCTV from Peering Into the Interior
Among the residents moving, I am the largest private property owner, furthermore you can basically say I am the only one who has complete papers, such as a property rights land right certificates, they both clearly indicated that it is a building zoned for business. At that time I had just finished renovations, and they (the developer) said they had to tear everything down and people had to be relocated, as a result this was really damaging for us. According to my property right certificate, I am clearly in ownership of 219 square meters, so for this use it should be returned to me.
Also on Peering into the Interior: Media coverage emboldens nailhouse owners.
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.