101 East

Beijing’s Brutal Evictions

Mass evictions and demolitions in the Chinese capital have forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

The Chinese authorities call them the “low-end population” – thousands of rural migrant workers who flee the poverty of rural China for better-paid jobs in metropolises like Beijing.

They help build, clean and feed the capital. But they no longer fit the dazzling image President Xi Jinping wants for Beijing. His dream is a showpiece capital, befitting China’s ambitions as a world superpower.

Beijing is fine-tuning its five-year plan: to reduce the city’s population by 15 percent by 2020, and they are pursuing this goal with unrelenting ruthlessness.

To help transform this megacity, the capital has launched a campaign to get rid of its poorest residents.
Entire neighbourhoods are being bulldozed, with residents often only given a few days to pack up their belongings and find new homes.

Xin Jie is one of them. She was forced to abandon her grocery shop and relocate to a small hut. Now, she’s being forced to move again. With nowhere to take her goods, she says she has no option but to sell them off cheaply. 

“What President Xi Jinping said on television sounded really good … Reforms and opening up the country,” she says.

“Now, see what’s happened? We’re no longer allowed to remain in Beijing. I have to find another city, maybe Shanghai or Guangzhou. We can’t stay in Beijing any more. I have nowhere else to go.”

101 East looks at the mass evictions and demolitions forcing 200,000 Beijing residents from their homes, leaving them to face an uncertain future.