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Spinning a story

Another slightly dizzy story from CATO.

Respecting Property Rights This dramatic photo appears on the front page of today’s New York Times. untitled Chinese authorities are respecting the legal rights of a landowner who does not wish to sell her parcel. Maybe this incident will have a Sputnik-like effect on American policymakers: “Hey, the commies are getting ahead of us on property rights! Let’s reverse the Kelo ruling and stop eminent domain abuse!”

The original article paints a slightly different picture. Seems the property owner's rights are going to be "respected" in a rather odd way.

Homeowner Stares Down Wreckers, at Least for a While [...] a house perched atop a tall, thimble-shaped piece of land like Mont-Saint-Michel in northern France, in the middle of a vast excavation. [...] in a way that is common in China whenever an event begins to take on hints of political overtones, the story virtually disappeared from the news media after the government, bloggers here said, decreed that the subject was suddenly out of bounds. [...] “For over two years they haven’t allowed me access to my property,” said Ms. Wu, [...]

“If it were an ordinary person they would have hired thugs and beat her up,” murmured a woman dressed in a green sweater who was drawn by the throng. “Ordinary people don’t dare fight with the developers. They’re too strong.”

Ms. Wu will in all likelihood lose her battle. Indeed, developers recently filed administrative motions to allow them to demolish her lonely building. Certainly the local authorities are eager to see the last of her.

“During the process of demolition, 280 households were all satisfied with their compensation and moved,” said Ren Zhongping, a city housing official. “Wu was the only one we had to dismantle forcibly.”

Note the past tense on the quote from the city official. Not sure that I would class this as respect.