China’s Most Incredible Holdout

March 8, 2007

The following is a news article translated from Southern Metropolis Daily. This is about a building site in Chongqing that has brought about suspicion on the web forums in China.

钉子户 = literally means “a slug house” but it means someone who refuses to move out from their house. I have translated it as a “holdout,” there might be a better translation but its all I could think of.

The original can be found here.

More pictures here

This must be the sales office building

It might be some sort of historical relic

Maybe people are practicing rock climbing here?

How are they going to build this building? This is a true test of construction technology

They excavated the surroundings to build a moat!

At the beginning of this month, a post titled “history’s most incredible holdout” started circulating on a famous BBS, the content of the post is a picture of a 10 meter deep pit dug around a solitary small two story building, just like a small boat in the middle of the ocean.

Netizens were all shook, either crazily praising “the most incredible holdout” or puzzled as to how anyone would live in there, and how would the building be developed. With regards to the source of the picture, the opinions of the netizens vary. Some people mistook this for last year’s “Most incredible holdout of Shanghai.” Both buildings do have resemblance. Some people also said this is from Chongqing, as they had passed through there in the past few days.

This reporter thus initiated investigation and interview

The isolated island on the side of the light rail

This reporter discovered, the picture first appeared on the internet on the 26th of February. At that time it was clearly written as: “Chongqing City JiuLong Hill District Yangjiaping Pedestrian Street. Author stood on Yangjiaping light rail station and took this picture.” Its possible because of the relative obscurity of the original BBS, and its wide circulation on the web that the original explanation was lost.

Local residents of Chongqing explained that this building is quite famous, alot of people in Chongqing have seen it. If you ride the light rail and pass through Yangjiaping station you are able to see a peculiar landscape: in the middle of a construction site stands a solitary small two story building, the surrounding soil has all been excavated, just like it was built on an isolated island. A chongqing resident then took a picture and named it “China’s most incredible holdout.”

Contractor Temporary Residence? Household resisting eminent domain?

One netizen said this wasn’t a holdout at all, it was actually the contractor’s temporary residence, there were also other netizens who supported this position.

After verification, this was determined as Chongqing city’s “Broadway” real estate construction site currently being put up in the residential quarter. A saleswoman who works for Weilian Real Estate Sales Company stated that the “Broadway” project is already in its second stage, the first stage has already completely been sold, and the small building is a holdout unwilling to relocate. The second phase is currently excavating the foundation; the circumstances are just like what you can see in the picture. For more information I was told to inquire with the developer, but I was unable to get through to their telephone.

Nobody is living in there now.

One netizen revealed, this house used to belong to the Yangjiaping Housing Management Office, according to theory, it’s a state-owned house, but for historical reasons it was rented out to a private leaser. The leaser wanted 200,000,000RMB from the developer or else he wouldn’t move. His family had some background and connections, so the developer didn’t dare take action. As a result this “wonder” was created.

Nevertheless, this netizen’s statement has not been verified. During an interview, Yangjiaping Housing Management Office’s Vice-Secretary Liu Ling indicated the situation was unclear. Furthermore, a worker on duty stated this building is a holdout who has stayed behind.

What the netizens are most interested in is if anyone is living in this building. If there is someone, how do they get in and out? An editor of the Chongqing Morning Report who everyday on his way to work passes through the area said that the building is deserted, there’s no furniture or he hasn’t seen anyone inside, and dug out like this its impossible for anyone to get in.

56 Responses to “China’s Most Incredible Holdout”

  1. matt Says:

    Amazing!! Hope you don’t mind; I’ve blogged your story translation on our blog here in London, UK. It’s too good. 🙂

  2. […] This has created a buzz in web forums across China! See more at this blog from China. […]

  3. neath Says:

    that is incredible!


  4. syahid ali Says:

    hahaha. a castle in china! 😀

  5. globetrotteri Says:

    Great story. Great pictures. It just goes to show that the little man can stand strong against the giant corporation!

  6. matt Says:

    The above featured photo has been published today in a UK newspaper called the Daily Mirror! I happened upon this purely by chance. Guess they got it from the internet.

    The wording with the photo reads;

    ‘The owner of this house refused the developer’s offer to buy him out …. but work started anyway on the construction site in Chongqing. Laws are to be passed to stop people being forced out.’

    I believe that last bit is not entirely true as the CCP will still allow government takeover for government led development.

  7. 白石 Says:

    Funny how I translate one story and its picked up by a newspaper

  8. matt Says:

    I’ve just found another copy of the Mirror newspaper at my work place. I’ve got it in front of me here. Can’t find anything at unfortunately.

    Just goes to show how useful your translation services are!

  9. 白石 Says:

    Free translation services might I add, haha I should do this for money instead of a my main means of procrastination!

  10. matt Says:

    Money leads to corruption! 😉

  11. […] it to make way for a huge new shopping mall complex. He’s demanding 20 (or 200, according to this story) million yuan … and the developer is unwilling to pay. So they did […]

  12. fred Says:

    That’s amazing !

  13. Roddy Says:

    Those photos are fantastic. They should leave it like that and sell tickets.

    I was also going to add that this was actually a good thing, as it showed the little guy at least had a hope of standing up to big corporations. Then I read \”His family had some background and connections, so the developer didn’t dare take action.\” and woke up.

  14. […] economy, 网络, 中国, internet This is a follow up on my previous posts with regards to  “China’s most incredible holdout”, where a housing dispute led to the developer digging a moat around someone’s house who […]

  15. David Says:

    It is great to see the progress China has made.

    In the past this family would have been marched off by Police.

    It will be interesting to see how tolerant the athourities are with this issue as it has gained world wide attention.

    Again I am amazed how far China has progressed with peoples rights.

  16. […] From Chongqing Train Station I took bus #207 to Yangjiaping station, and had some rice noodles, taking the chance to talk for a while with the noodle shop […]

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