Migrant Workers In Beijing Kicked Out Of Their Wells, Which They Called Home

Beijing migrant worker lives in well 1

Authorities in Beijing’s have reportedly used concrete to seal off wells that had served as makeshift homes for migrant workers in a particularly impoverished area in Chaoyang district. Hug China reports:

66-year-old migrant woman Quan Youzhi from Henan province has lived in the well for years. But she will not be allowed to live there any more as Beijing officials have sealed it up with concrete after media attention to this group of well dwellers.

Sorry, back up a second. What do you mean “well dwellers”?

Beijing migrant worker lives in well 2
Beijing migrant worker lives in well 3
Beijing migrant worker lives in well 4

Living in wells is apparently what some people do. Hug China again:

A report by Beijing Morning News on Thursday that several wells in downtown Beijing have been used as home by some old couples and migrant workers for years has caused sensation in China with all major online news portals putting up the story as headline.

…In one well, a couple in their seventies that make a living by begging had lived there for five to six years. In another well, a 53-year-old man with the surname Wang who earns his living by collecting scraps said he had lived there for 20 years to save the bed rent (not apartment rent of course) that normally costs 300 yuan per month in an  area where apartment price has rocketed to 40 to 50 thousand yuan per square meter.

Local residents said more than 20 wells in the area had been used by poor people as homes and the well dwellers are mostly migrant workers making a living collecting scraps or washing cars.

So what did police, part of that caring arm of the nation-state whose duty is to serve and protect, do to help after the public expressed shock and sympathy?

Instead of helping the well dwellers to find a better shelter while letting them earn money in the city, just one day after the Beijing Morning News report, officials from Chaoyang district dispatched workers to the area and sealed off all the wells with concrete.

Beijing migrant worker lives in well 5
Beijing migrant worker lives in well 6

Yup, they sure did. In a country that values the concept of “face,” this story comes as a surprise. As if living in a well wasn’t demeaning enough, these people are given absolutely no face by being kicked out of their wells. Yeah. What do you think the cops’ parting words might have been, for maximum insult? “Go live with rats” is out, since, you know, these people were already living inside wells. “Go live somewhere less filthy, you degenerates”?

Beijing officials hate marginalized people living in wells, seal them off with concrete (Hug China)

    7 Responses to “Migrant Workers In Beijing Kicked Out Of Their Wells, Which They Called Home”

    1. terroir

      If there is a hilarious side to this story, then let it be that the story I read was all about the beginning part of the story – that a reporter went out and verified what people on the internet have been talking about. The story mentioned that this was a very common thing that goes back years.

      At no point did the story mentions that these poor people got kicked out — despite one of the well residents coming back home and shocked to find so many people waiting for her.

      (As there’s only one or a few reporters, and think we know what the other people were waiting to do.)

      Worst part of the story is the over sixty grandmother who said she’s been living like this for 20 years after leaving her abusive family.

    2. Sinikur

      Umm, did it occur to them that there is a reason the government needs to be able to access those wells? In other words they were built…for a purpose?

      Once again, shocked at the stupidity.

        • benji

          Its all about the glorious notion of saving face. The despot CPC blew trillions on corruption, built splendid monuments to aggrandize the failed marxist model of governance, etc etc etc, and yet have citizens living in wells, amongst the $$$$$$$$$$$$$ condos. Weep – China – weep.

    3. ExX

      I am kinda broke right now, thinking of living in a well might be cheaper. Dammit, poor old lady. I really feel pity for her.

    4. Monty Python

      When WE were young, we used to live in a hole in t’middle o’t’ground …. and we ate nowt but gravel …. COLD gravel!!


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