Note: This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

(by Peter Foster,  BEIJING — A retired Chinese coal miner has found an underground solution to the country’s sky-high housing costs, by carving out a new home beneath the shack he lives in, Chinas state media reported on [September 2nd].

Needing more room for his family but priced out of a soaring property market, Chen Xinnian, 64, spent four years digging out the subterranean chamber under his tiny house in the city of Zhengzhou, the China Youth Daily said.

So far, he has excavated 540 square foot of living space in the chamber 20ft underground in the capital of Henan province, and plans to eventually have a residence with three bedrooms and a living room, it said.

Mr Chen bought his own mining lights, helmets and other equipment for the project, using expertise from his previous work as a labourer building coal mines.

It quoted Mr Chen saying the underground home can withstand a magnitude-eight earthquake and is both cool in summer and warm in winter.

A housing boom over the past few years has sent property prices skyrocketing across China and propelled the issue to the top of the national agenda, with untold millions finding themselves unable to purchase a home.

The government has responded this year with a series of measures to cool prices, such as tightening curbs on advance sales in new property developments, restricting loans for third home purchases and raising minimum down-payments for second homes.

(This article was originally posted at on September 2nd.)

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1. How long did it take retired coal miner Chen Xinnian to dig a room 20 feet under his house?

2. How large is the room that Mr. Chen dug?

3. Why did Mr. Chen make this room under his house?

4. Where did Mr. Chen get the equipment he needed to build his room?

5. What benefits does the underground room provide to Mr. Chen and his family?

6. What two adjectives would you use to describe Mr. Chen? Explain your answer.

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