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    'savage' demolitions

    By News Desk

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    Modern Beijing was built on the backs of low-paid migrants like Zhao Guihua.The 50-something cook and cleaner is one of thousands of people critics say have been forced from their homes in the past two weeks as part of a drive by the municipal government to shut down what it claims is unsafe and overcrowded housing.

    Now homeless, she's selling all her possessions and preparing to return to her village -- hundreds of miles away in Henan province in central China.
    "Our apartment was demolished and new housing is too expensive to afford. We're not making enough money," she says, with her shoes, cups, pans, pots, a space heater and tools spread out in front of her on a cloth on the street.
    "I have no choice but to go home. I thought I could make more money in Beijing than by farming at home. But now, it's time to go home."

    Zhao Guihua is a migrant worker in Beijing who has been evicted from her home due to the city's ongoing crackdown on "unsafe" buildings.

     
    Zhao Guihua is a migrant worker in Beijing who has been evicted from her home due to the city's ongoing crackdown on "unsafe" buildings.
     
    Zhao says Government workers destroyed her home on November 26, as a part of a 40-day operation that comes in the wake of a deadly fire in Daxing, an industrial neighborhood in south Beijing, in which 19 people died. The town where the fire took place, is home to 175,000 residents, among which 120,000 are migrants, according to the town's website.
    Both residential and commercial properties -- factories and warehouses -- have been earmarked for demolition, and the government has acted with breathtaking speed.
    Zhao says residents in her building of several dozen small apartments were given just over a day's notice to move out. A small warning was posted at the gate on November 25, reading: "Tenants: Please clean out before November 26, 2017, at 5 p.m. or there will be consequences."
    As advertized, government officials showed up the next day, she says, wielding sledgehammers. Doors were pulled off hinges. Ceilings were torn down. The power was shut off.
    "The demolition crew was savage," said the building's landlord, who asked to be identified only by his surname, Yang.
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