Property owner in eviction standoff

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2007, 12:00am

The owner of a two-storey building in Chongqing defied a court evacuation order yesterday, staging a one-man protest in the house that stands alone in a 10-metre pit on a building site.

Yang Wu moved back into his house on Wednesday afternoon to 'safeguard it', ignoring an earlier court ruling that ordered his family to move out that day.

He hung a national flag and a banner reading 'no violation of legitimate private properties' on the roof. Mr Yang's wife, Wu Ping , told CCTV that her husband, a former martial arts champion, had said: 'If anyone dares to come up, I'll beat them back down!'

Journalists and sympathisers have been waiting beside the pit since Wednesday night to cover his possible forcible evacuation.

'The man is still alone in that building and no evacuation tools or vehicles are in sight,' onlooker Gu Yuefei said last night.

Now known as the 'coolest nail house in history' - a Chinese metaphor for a person who refuses to move from their home - the unoccupied villa has no electricity or water supplies and the developer has dug a 10-metre moat around it. More than 200 families who used to live on the site have left.

Ms Wu said her husband had planned to open a restaurant but was ordered to tear it down to make way for a shopping centre.

The row with the developer has lasted for more than three years, with the couple rejecting compensation of around 2 million yuan.

'According to my property rights certificate, I am clearly in ownership of 219 square metres, so for this use it should be returned to me ... I don't want any more money, I want to be given property back of the same value, this is our choice,' Ms Wu said, denying earlier media reports that the family was demanding 20 million yuan.

Ren Qiuping , head of the evacuation office at Chongqing's Jiulongpo District Housing Authority, described Mr Yang's acts as 'regrettable' and said the family was making unreasonable demands.