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.
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+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!