In the context of rapid urbanisation in China, demolition and forced eviction have been used by Chinese governments as urban development strategies to get rid of old, dilapidated properties while paving the way for new developments. Yet it has been argued that the impact of such forced eviction on different groups of people may vary widely, with compensation and improved living conditions for some and complete loss of shelter for others. The latter is especially true when demolition targets so-called “illegal housing,” which is often mostly occupied by migrant tenants. This paper will analyse the differences in rehousing choices between groups of migrant tenants. The first section of the paper will analyse the Chinese government’s policy of demolition targeted at rental housing. The second section will focus on the differential impact that demolition has had on the livelihoods of two groups of migrant tenants – the high-skilled and subsequently more resilient, and the low-skilled and subsequently more vulnerable. The final section will discuss the serious shortcomings of the current demolition policy, which fails to distinguish between these groups. The government must try to create policies to address the varying degrees of needs and vulnerabilities of the tenants it proposes to displace. Instead of a homogenous policy, this essay argues that policies should be carefully devised to accommodate different migrant tenants’ needs and situations.
How to Cite:
Lu, Q., 2019. Demolition, Demolition, Demolition! Housing Issues for Migrant Workers in Urbanising China. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 7(1), pp.165–180.