Urbanization Forces 150,000 Tenants Out of Shenzhen Village

By Phoebe Kut, July 11, 2019

0 0

Shenzhen’s urbanization efforts continue to steamroll ahead. A redevelopment project in Baishizhou has forced 150,000 tenants to move out over a two-month period, according to a report by Jiemian, a Shanghai-based news outlet, on July 6. 

These urban villages, or chengzhongcun, are often nicknamed ‘kissing buildings’ or ‘handshake houses ’ as they are a hive of activity in closely-woven streets. Although urban villages may be regarded as hazardous and cramped, they are cost-effective places to live for new graduates, young entrepreneurs, working-class migrants and even some white-collar workers. 

Baishizhou, an area situated in Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, consists of five villages and is considered the biggest remaining chengzhongcun in the city. The revitalization project has been in talks for many years, with villagers conscious of the looming moving date. 

READ MORE: The Fall of Guangdong's Urban Villages, Migrants' Last Refuge

Image via Andy Barraclough

Jiemian interviewed a Baishizhou tenant surnamed Li, who recently received a verbal eviction notice after returning home from a business trip. “You have to find a house quickly. This building will be completely cleared and sealed off before August 31. After September 10, the water will be cut off, power will be cut off, and the building will be closed.” Li’s landlord told him. 

Image via Andy Barraclough

Li has lived in Baishizhou for 11 years, in a 15-square-meter one-bedroom-one-living-room suite. He moved to Baishizhou with his wife and daughter in 2008 when the monthly rent was merely RMB650. Over the years Li’s income doubled, but his rent only increased by RMB300; he felt lucky to have found such a good deal. 

However, “the notice of eviction came too suddenly,” Li told Jiemian, stating that he has not received any formal written documents regarding the Baishizhou demolition plans nor a formal written eviction notice from official authorities. 

A common concern among villagers with this sudden change is their children’s education. 

Another tenant, surnamed Xu, has been thinking about whether to bring her children back to their hometown to study. She is a mother of two, the eldest enrolling in nearby Xiangshanli Elementary School and the youngest attending the neighboring Xiangshanli Kindergarten. Xu often pondered all night, debating, “If I continue to live in Baishizhou, my youngest can go to Xiangshanli Elementary School after two years. If we move, there is no guarantee my children will have a suitable school to attend.” 

Xu eventually made up her mind to move back to her hometown with the kids, but has not had the heart to tell them yet. Reflecting upon the eight years of struggle in Baishizhou, she felt that the days there were very bitter, “but [she] will still miss it in the future.” 

READ MORE: Plans for 700m-Tall Skyscraper Face Opposition in Shenzhen

[Cover image courtesy of Daniel MH Chun]

more news

Shenzhen Bans Outdoor Barbecue to Improve Air Quality

This new policy is part of a larger sustainable action plan looking to reduce and stabilize PM2.5 levels across the city.

Tianjin Tianhai Quit China Super League, Replaced by Shenzhen FC

A swift and dramatic fall from from grace.

Jesse Warren Talks Shenzhen Music and New Mettasonic Releases

We caught up with musical maestro Jesse Warren to chat about two upcoming Mettasonic releases, 'Made in Shenzhen EP' and 'Mettā Muzik, Vol 3.'

WATCH: 2-Meter Snakes Caught by Bare-Handed Guard in Shenzhen

Avoid walking in bushes and forests and do not wear sandals or slippers when on a walk.

'UFO' Crashes to the Ground in Chinese Village

A mysterious object fell from the sky into a Chinese village, opening up a massive crater in the ground.

Animals Crossing Safely in Shenzhen’s New Ecological Corridor

The corridor was designed to allow animals to safely cross without endangering themselves or motorists.

Shenzhen Becomes 1st Chinese City to Ban Dog and Cat Consumption

The new regulation will go into effect on May 1.

Shenzhen-Themed Board Game Raises Money to Fight COVID-19

A group of Italian architects in Shenzhen have designed a Monopoly-inspired board game to help raise money for charity.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at thatsonline for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in China With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday


Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Magazines!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.