Migrant workers take to streets of Beijing to protest against forced evictions
Rally in Chaoyang district comes as unofficial residents complain of unfair treatment in wake of deadly blaze in Chinese capital
Dozens of people took to the streets of northeastern Beijing on Sunday morning to protest against being evicted from their homes, according to witnesses and social media posts.
The incident, in the village of Feijia in Chaoyang district, close to Beijing’s Capital International Airport, followed the capital government’s controversial handling of a safety campaign in Daxing district last month that left tens of thousands of migrant workers homeless.
Protesters shouted, “forced eviction violates human rights”, while others held up home-made banners repeating the message.
Authorities in Feijia are in the process of evicting people living in unauthorised dwellings following a deadly fire in Daxing on November 18 that left 19 people dead.
A 40-day campaign was launched in the wake of the blaze, supposedly to eliminate safety hazards in warehouses and apartment compounds, where migrant workers had created makeshift homes.
A resident surnamed Wang who runs a shop with his wife in Feijia, said the protest started on the village’s main street at 9am. All those without Beijing residents’ permits, including the couple, had been told to vacate their homes, he said.
The village government issued a notice on November 26 saying that the power and water supplies to all temporary structures would be switched off on December 15, and that all businesses and residential tenants must leave before that date.
The Post could not immediately confirm if the protest was directly related to the safety campaign. Calls to the local police station were referred to the district police, and those calls went unanswered.
A similar rally was reported to have taken place in the Nanxiaojie area of Daxing on Sunday morning, though details of the incident were difficult to verify. A woman working in the area said there had been a protest, but declined to give any details.
Photographs circulated on social media showed a heavy security presence in the area.