|Migrant workers gathering their things and getting ready to leave Beijing|
Following a fire in Beijing's Daxing district that killed 19 people, the local government has used the tragedy as an excuse to get rid of the "low-end population", though this campaign has been happening for the past year.
|Parts of Sanlitun have been completely demolished|
|Some people are hardly given much notice to leave|
Not all expats have the same view as my friend who is from the UK and has lived in Beijing for many years. These foreigners like seeing migrant workers gone and the streets are now cleaner, or getting rid of businesses that didn't fit in the neighbourhood, like the aforementioned shack selling food and perhaps were noisy late into the night.
Nevertheless these were businesses that were convenient, cheap and useful for many residents, and what are left behind are empty stalls, or areas that have been completely demolished, leaving no trace of their previous existence.
However my friend has the last laugh -- expats are complaining it's hard to find an ayi (a maid) these days. Gee, I wonder why?
He says his ayi may leave next year if she too is pressured, but doesn't know where to go. She doesn't want to go back to Anhui province, and do what? She has lived in Beijing for over a decade and makes good money cleaning people's flats.
The Beijing government may think it's doing a good thing getting rid of the "low-end population", but really it's shooting itself in the foot. These migrant workers keep the city going. They were the ones who built all the new buildings and infrastructure, but you deny their children education because they don't have hukou or a residence permit, and now you force them to leave because you consider them an eyesore?
How is that equality in the so-called socialist People's Republic of China?