Beijing has launched a 40-day campaign to abolish unauthorized housing in the city and its surrounding suburbs, most of which are home to Chinese migrant workers, known in the country as the “low-end population.”
The campaign was launched after a fire in an unauthorized house for workers killed 19 people in the suburb of Daxing. Some former neighborhoods of unauthorized housing have been razed, while others had their power and heat supplies cut off, according to reports from the South China Morning Post.
Since the mass evictions began, many of workers have stopped showing up to work — or, for those who have secured housing, their new homes are hours away from their jobs.
“They sent my ayi [housekeeper] so far away that now she has to travel two and a half hours to come to Beijing,” one woman who lives in Beijing told the SCMP.
Academics speculate that the campaign will fuel real estate speculation using a 2005 resolution intended to get “the city into the countryside” — or develop rural land for residential purposes — which set out more than 30 different pilot zones for this experimental development to occur. The suburb of Daxing, where the fire that triggered the campaign occurred, is one of these zones.
[SCMP] — E.K. Hudson