In China, Fight Over Development Creates a Star – Howard French

 Images 2007 03 26 World 26China.600

From The New York Times:

For weeks a dispute had drawn attention from people all across China as a simple homeowner stared down the forces of large-scale redevelopment that are sweeping this country, blocking the preparation of a gigantic construction site by an act of sheer will.

Chinese bloggers were the first to spread the news of a house perched atop a tall, thimble-shaped piece of land like Mont St. Michel in the middle of a vast excavation. Newspapers dove in next, followed by national television. Then, in a way that is common in China whenever an event begins to take on hints of political overtones, the story virtually disappeared from the news media, bloggers here said, after the government decreed that the subject was suddenly out of bounds.

Still, the “nail house,” as many here have called it because of the homeowner’s tenacity, like a nail that cannot be pulled out, remains the most popular current topic among bloggers in China. [Full Text]

Also from The Globe and Mail, by Geoffrey York:

The case is being portrayed as the first major test of China’s new property law. Earlier this month, the national parliament passed a historic law that safeguards private property rights for the first time.

Thousands of property disputes have erupted in China in recent years. Many cases are similar to the nail-house case: A private developer buys up a site, gains support from local officials and puts pressure on hundreds of local residents to leave.

The Chinese media have been sympathetic to Mr. Yang, with one newspaper saying that he is “fighting for the rights of all property owners in China.”[Full Text]

March 26, 2007 7:22 PM
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