The name – from the Chinese dÄ«ng zi hù – is used by China’s property developers to describe the home of a resident who refuses to relocate and make way for a construction. They stubbornly hold on to their house like a nail sticking up in a plank of wood – hard to hammer down and very visible. So visible, in fact, that startling photographs exist online of lone houses marooned in muddy building sites, defiant outposts against the moneymen building the shopping mall or apartment block.
Nail houses began popping up in 21st-century China after the passing of two laws, in 2004 and 2007, recognising private property rights and the right to compensation, legislation inconceivable under Chairman Mao.
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