Being in Shanghai, you see things that you never thought you would. You hear about stories that are way too close for comfort. I mean…we recently had a food scandal where they found that people were distributing millions of dollars worth of meat from the 1970s. Read here if you don’t believe me.
They can fake eggs, watermelons explode, and we have dead pigs floating down the river – but all those things can be shaken off with a laugh (and a sigh).
However, I just came across an article in The Guardian upon browsing through my Pocket – which I rave about here – and it reminded me of a more sombre side of China. Around China, masses of people are dislocated from their homes and paid way too little to move to alternative lodging; an ongoing problem that the country is facing with the rise of urbanisation.
Land seizures have been a problem for years and the term ‘nail house’ has been coined to describe a holdout tenant or occupant, likening them to a nail refusing to be hammered down. One that sticks out amongst the rubble.
Here are some of their stories…
Shenzhen, 2007: A house stands isolated in the middle of a construction site in the business district of the city. The Hong Kong-born owner refused to move out, demanding more compensation from developers (Woody Wu/AFP/Getty Images).
Wuhan, 2010: Chinese farmer Yang Youde fires his homemade cannon on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province. Yang uses the cannons, which are made out of a wheelbarrow, pipes and fire rockets, to defend his fields against property developers who want his land (AFP/Getty Images).
Chongqing, 2007: A house, whose owner refused to accept a compensation deal by a property developer, is surrounded by the ongoing excavation at a construction site (China Photos/Getty Images AsiaPac).
You wonder what those houses mean to them in order for them to persevere to the extent that they do. The memories contained in each of those places, which will soon be covered by a new shopping centre or luxury apartments.
Do we really need yet another high-rise building?
via The Guardian