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Economy

Chinese 'Nail Houses' Won't Budge for New Development

The holdout homes are a symbol of underdog defiance of wealth and power.
A six-floor "nail house" on a construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen April 17, 2007.
A six-floor "nail house" on a construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen April 17, 2007. REUTERS/Paul Yeung

In Chinese cities, investment in new real estate and infrastructure is flowing unabated. High-rises, train stations, and airports are popping up at a velocity that's sometimes faster than the government can convince people to move.

There are often already people living on the primo land parcels that developers prize most, especially in and around existing cities. These people are generally either evicted with the help of local government or get bought out, often for far less than the original value of their properties. Most residents acquiesce, whether or not they want to.