A Beijing family is refusing to vacate their home despite a court order to throw them out. The Yu family has been living in the same house (located on Di’anmennei Street, a main road in Beijing) for 60 years, selling roast chestnuts and other snacks to passerby. When they were ordered to move out by last Sunday in an effort to “clean up” the neighborhood before the Games, the family defied the order and have been maintaining a campaign against their removal ever since. The Yu home is plastered with images of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, with Communist Party and national flags flying high above its roof. They hope that Chinese leaders will be able to help them resolve this issue. “If they knew about this problem, they would look after us. They would care and sympathise with us,” Ms. Yu, one of 14 family members living in the house, told BBC. The Yus say that the 340,000 yuan compensation offered to them is not enough. “In Beijing you can’t even buy something the size of a toilet for that,” Ms. Yu said.
The story of nail houses (homes whose residents refuse to move, leaving their homes sticking out like a nail) in Chinese cities is not uncommon, with the battle over a home in Chongqing last year making headlines. But with China under the world’s scrutiny less than a month before the Games, Beijing officials acknowledge they want to resolve the issue without being too heavy-handed. “Our principle is to put people first,” said Meng Qingli, a local official.