When construction workers built a brand new road in China’s Zhejiang province in 2012, they hit a small snag. In the path of the highway stood a building where two occupants had refused to leave, until they received compensation from the local government.
And so the workers simply built around it; a few months later, the couple settled with the municipal government, and the house was demolished.The photo above shows the house before it was torn down, sitting placidly in the middle of the new road and rendering it practically unusable.
The building was what the Chinese call a “dingzihu” or “nail house”: a building in the way of a new development whose occupants or owners won’t budge, like a stubborn nail in a plank of wood.
The People’s Republic has only recently begun to allow private land ownership among its citizens, which may explain the stubbornness of those who don’t want to move out of developers’ way. The country’s first private property law, established in 2007, makes it illegal for the government to seize land unless it’s in the public interest; this has given nail house occupiers more of a leg to stand on.