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Eminent Domain, this one photo says it all

BEIJING (AP) — In the middle of an eastern Chinese city's new main road, rising incongruously from a huge circle in the freshly laid pavement, is a five-story row house with ragged edges. This is the home of the duck farmer who said "no."

Luo Baogen and his wife are the lone holdouts from a neighborhood that was demolished to make way for the main thoroughfare heading to a newly built railway station on the outskirts of the city of Wenling in Zhejiang province.

Dramatic images of Luo's home have circulated widely online in China this week, becoming the latest symbol of resistance in the frequent standoffs between Chinese homeowners and local officials accused of offering too little compensation to vacate neighborhoods for major redevelopment projects.

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Good for them.

I loved the description given to these houses in China "There's even a name for the buildings that remain standing as their owners resist development. They are called "nail houses" because the homeowners refuse to be hammered down."

In the West of course they would be expropriated anyway and demolished. If the owners resisted they would be permanently detained or shot. In China I suspect they have to be more careful since the people are not entirely docile and have been known to riot.

I also liked his entrepreneurial spirit. He was thinking of setting up a shop on the ground floor to take advantage of the increase in traffic!

As if to prove my point I just came across a story in the UK Telegraph about a man who has been sent to prison for living with his family on their own land. They had a nursery business and had gone bankrupt so had nowhere to stay. They received a caravan from friends and parked it on their own land with some tents. They are trying to get planning permission to build a home and in the meantime the council has told them to get off the land. It is exactly what I said would happen. Unbelievable.


Here is an excerpt.

"Speaking before the ruling Mr Pryke, who is now working as a specialist insurance broker, said: "We are fighting to stay on our land and fighting for what we believe in.

"This country needs 'doers' to get out of the mess it is in, not just people who are happy just to take handouts.

"We would rather stand on our own feet and live on our land than take taxpayers' money for housing support. How can making us homeless make any sense when we will be forced to live off state handouts?"

"Jesus answered them: 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-36)

I had a Mexican peasant say he was more free than me.

It was about 2003. I was still "living the dream" on my tropical vacation, he was trying to get by selling trinkets to people like me. I really wanted to think he was nuts, but even then something in me knew he was right.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.