And Then There Was One

Across China, where new developments are keeping pace with the rapidly growing economy, reports continue to surface so-called "nail houses." These properties, standing alone amid the ruins of other buildings, belong to owners who have stood their ground and resisted demolition. Defiant property owners say the compensation being offered is too low. Some of them have remained in their homes for years as their court cases drag on and new construction continues all around them. A few homeowners have won their fights, but most have lost. Meanwhile, these nail houses have become powerful symbols of resistance against the world's fastest-growing major economy. [21 photos total]

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1
A "nail house", the last building in the area, sits in the middle of a road under construction in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on April 10, 2015. According to local media, the owner of the house didn't reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation of the demolition. (Reuters) #
2
A partially-demolished nail house at a construction site in Hefei, Anhui province, China, on February 2, 2010. The owner of the house was attempting to seek more compensation before agreeing to the demolition of their home, local media reported. (Reuters) #
3
A building sits on its own island of land amid construction all around it, on March 22, 2007 in Chongqing Municipality, China. The homeowner, who has hung a banner and the national flag in protest, had refused to sell to a developer who went ahead with construction around the site. (China Photos/Getty Images) #
4
A building sits on an island of land amid construction all around March 21, 2007 in Chongqing, China. (China Photos/Getty Images) #
5
Workers demolish the lone holdout house on a construction site in Chongqing on April 2, 2007. Authorities tore down the house after a three-year standoff that hindered a construction project and captivated the nation. (AP/EyePress) #
6
Zheng Meiju walks towards her partially demolished nail house in Rui'an, Zhejiang province, on July 17, 2013. Zhang, owner of the house, refused to move due to dissatisfaction of the compensation since the demolition project began, making way for a new business plaza. She had been living in the house for nearly a year, even though the water and electricity supply were cut in early 2013, local media reported. (Reuters) #
7
A six-floor villa sits alone in a construction site in the central business district of Shenzhen on April 17, 2007. Choi Chu Cheung, the owner of the villa, and his wife Zhang Lian-hao, refused to accept the compensation offered by the developer who plans to build a financial center on the site. (Paul Yeung/Reuters) #
8
This picture taken on December 6, 2012 shows Chinese workers building around a 'nail grave' mound 10 meters high, at a construction site in a village in Taiyuan, north China's Shanxi province . The owner of the grave and the construction consortium were arguing over compensation to be paid. (AFP/Getty Images) #
9
Chinese workers build around a 'nail grave' mound 10 meters high, at a construction site in a village in Taiyuan, China, on December 6, 2012 . (AFP/Getty Images) #
10
The last remaining grave atop a mound surrounded by a construction site in a village in Taiyuan, China, on December 6, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images) #
11
A platform has been built to allow a family tomb to be relocated, in Taiyuan, China, on December 13, 2012, after the owner of this "nail grave" reached an agreement with the construction consortium and would receive 800 yuan (128 USD) in compensation. (AFP/Getty Images) #
12
A car drives past next a partially demolished building in the middle of a street in Xi'an on August 14, 2013. A family of 7 still lived in the three-story building without electricity and water after a demolition project in the region took place in 2010. (Reuters) #
13
A man rides his bicycle past a partially demolished building in the middle of a street next to residential construction sites in Xi'an, on August 14, 2013. According to local media, the owner of the house refused to move as a protest against a land dispute lawsuit between him and his brother, which he lost. (Reuters) #
14
A nail house stands in the center of a construction site which will be developed as a new apartment zone in Chongqing Municipality on February 4, 2009. The owners of the house insisted in seeking more compensation before agreeing to the demolition of their home, local media reported. (China Daily/Reuters) #
15
A nail house stands in the center of a construction site which will be developed as a new apartment zone in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, on November 28, 2007. (Joe Tan/Reuters) #
16
The demolition of the last holdout house in the area, at a construction site in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on January 8, 2008. The owners of the house had filed but lost a lawsuit against the developer of the land to seek more compensation before agreeing to the demolition of their home. The land will be used for a high-rise apartment project. (Joe Tan/Reuters) #
17
A small nail house stands on the square in front of a shopping mall in Changsha, central China's Hunan province on November 13, 2007. (Reuters) #
18
Owner Zhao Xing, 58, collects water near his partially demolished nail house, the last house in the area, at a construction site in Kunming, Yunnan province, on October 30, 2010. Zhao refused to move due to unsatisfactory compensation for his house, even as the water and electricity supplies of his house were cut, local media reported. (Reuters) #
19
A nail house sits surrounded by a ditch at a construction site for a new residential compound in Xiangyang, Hubei province, on November 19, 2013. The family living inside had refused to move out due to a disagreement over their compensation plan, local media reported. (Reuters) #
20
A half-demolished apartment building stands in the middle of a newly-built road thanks to a Chinese couple that refused to move in Wenling, in eastern China's Zhejiang province, on November 22, 2012 . Luo Baogen, 67, and his 65-year-old wife waged a four-year battle to receive more compensation than was offered by the local government of Daxi, a Chinese newspaper said. (AFP/Getty Images) #
21
Excavators tear down the five-story "nail house" apartment building in the middle of a newly-built road in Wenling, China, on . Local authorities said that the house was bulldozed on December 1, 2012, after its owners, duck farmer Luo Baogen and his wife, agreed to accept compensation of 40,000 USD. (AFP/Getty Images) #

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