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Authorities In China Build A Major Road Around This House, As Elderly Couple Refuses To Move
November 23, 2012
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You know that old saying "You can't fight city hall." Don't try telling that to Luo Baogen and his wife, who live in eastern China.

The couple, in their 60s, are currently living in Zhejiang province in the middle of a major road that was recently built.

At one time, there was an entire neighbourhood there. But authorities ordered everyone to move and demolished the homes, to make way for the road.

Everyone did, except for this couple.

Here's a short video from the BBC.

They say their house cost nearly $100,000 to build. But the government isn't offering anywhere near that to relocate them.

"I just want them to build another house for me," Luo told the BBC. "They can build a house of the same size and get it decorated as my house. This is all that I want."

In the meantime, the government went ahead and built the road around their house. The road leads to a new railway station just outside the city of Wenling.

It's not open to traffic yet, as the couple and the government are still negotiating.

Luo and his wife are not alone in China, as more and more people are standing up for their rights.

The Guardian has put together a collection of photos of people who've been ordered to move because of development, but decide to stay and fight.

authorities-in-china-build-a-major-road-around-this-house-as-elderly-couple-refuses-to-move-feature2.jpgFrom 2010: that tiny figure on the right is Zhao Xing collecting water near his partially demolished house in Yunnan province. Zhao refused to move, even though his water and electricity supply had been cut

authorities-in-china-build-a-major-road-around-this-house-as-elderly-couple-refuses-to-move-feature4.jpg2010: Chinese farmer Yang Youde fires his homemade cannon, to defend his fields in Hubei province against property developers.The cannons are made out of a wheelbarrow, pipes and fire rockets.

authorities-in-china-build-a-major-road-around-this-house-as-elderly-couple-refuses-to-move-feature3.jpg2007: A house stands in the middle of a construction site in the business district of Shenzhen. The Hong Kong-born owner refused to move, demanding more compensation from developers.

You can see more of the photos here.

In its 2012 report, Human Rights Watch says people in China are more and more aware of their rights and are challenging authorities on a number of issues - livelihood, land seizures, forced evictions, abuses of power, discrimination, and economic inequalities.

The report estimates there are 250-500 protests a day in China, involving anywhere from ten to tens of thousands of people.

The report also says that internet users are fighting back against censorship, by calling for transparency and reforms, and exposing government wrong-doing.

In spite of that, the report says "China continues to be an authoritarian one-party state that imposes sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion... and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations."

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