Upon returning “home" after serving 23 years in jail, 45-year-old Shaanxi villager Jia Xinde was confused by what he saw: a new building was standing on the site of his old shabby house in Guchuan village, Baoji city.
Not only was his old house gone, Jia later found out that the occupants of the new house were his former neighbours. They told Jia that the government had sold them his house for 900 yuan (HK$1,145) in 1993, three years after Jia was put behind the bars.
Jia lived with his adopted father and his disabled uncle in the house before he was jailed for robbery, reported local newspaper China Business News.
A village official later explained to Jia that since his father had died a year before he was arrested, his uncle was left without anyone to care for him after Jia was sent to prison.
Village officials later sent Jia's uncle to a nursing home and sold the house, which they claimed was in terrible condition, to Jia's neighbour.
Village officials promised to reinstate Jia’s hukou, which was mysteriously expunged in 1996, and give him some land to live on, said the newspaper report.
Fang Ligang, a Shaanxi-based lawyer, told China Business News that Jia’s property was protected by law even when he was in prison. He said Jia should be compensated.