Moats dug around Chinese 'nail houses' as residents refuse to budge

According to reports 99 per cent of Yangji villagers have now abandoned their homes to make way for real estate developers, but at least six families have refused to budge

The latest startling example of the conflict between China's booming economy and the lives of its inhabitants is being played out in Yangji village in the southeastern city of Guangzhou, where residents are refusing to make way for developers.

According to reports 99 per cent of villagers have now abandoned their homes to make way for real estate developers, but at least six families have refused to budge.

In what is seemingly an attempt to drive the villagers from their homes, other residents, who have already accepted compensation deals, have now carved out moats around their former neighbours homes.

Some reports claim that the moats, which have been dug over the past month, were actually created by developers in order to re-route a local river so that it surrounds the home-owners houses.

State news agency Xinhua reported on Monday that some of the houses are surrouded six-foot deep moats up to 12 feet long on all four sides.

Since last November, electricity and water supplies have also been repeatedly sabotaged, some residents have claimed.

Up to 600,000 people are set to lose their homes under the city's plans to demolish "much of its old downtown, its urban villages and ageing factories".

The incident is the latest featuring heavy-handed tactics to move so-called 'nail houses', a Chinese name for homes belonging to people, sometimes called "stubborn nails", who refuse to make room for development.  

Images of China's most famous nail house, a five storey building in the middle of a newly built motorway, went viral last year, becoming a global symbol of forced evictions.

In recent years forced evictions have been a significant cause of social unrest in China with tens of thousands of incidents recorded each year.

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