Homeless in Chinese cities

14 Jan

One interesting characteristic of Chinese cities compared to major third world cities is the lack of slums or ghettos. This article raises that point, though it focuses more on the situation of poor homeless people living in sewers rather than why Chinese cities don’t have slums, which are common from Rio de Janeiro to Mumbai to Jakarta to Nairobi. Factors like hukous (household registrations), government housing for state employees, and rigid enforcement play a part, but ultimately I’m curious where the mass numbers of migrant workers live in major cities, or rather how they’re able to live in decent housing. There are poor areas of course, but not to the extent of having populations of tens or hundreds of thousands living among open sewers, improvised shanties, and overflowing garbage. The article explores the issue of homeless people using sewers as shelters, since they’re banned from parks and bridges. The writer even sees slums as being a solution since it means “a government can leave part of a city’s space to the poor, to create some sort of shelter for themselves.” I don’t quite agree about that but it raises interesting points.

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