Hundreds of thousands displaced as Shenzhen ‘upgrades’ its urban villages

Photo of Hundreds of thousands displaced as Shenzhen ‘upgrades’ its urban villages
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Anger is growing as migrant workers are being forced from their homes or face unaffordable rents for renovated housing

Now retired, Xiao spends her free time picking plastic bottles out of trash. “I get 0.2-0.3 jiao (a fifth of one pence) a piece. One night is enough to cover breakfast for my daughter and her small child,” she says. “The rest of our expenses are covered by my daughter, who earns 3,000 yuan (£342) a month working at a nearby shopping mall.”

The three share a small apartment in Guoxia, one of Shenzhen’s 1,044 urban villages – spaces filled with low-rent, often shoddily built, housing. She is among the hundreds of thousands of low-income, migrant residents who are expected to be displaced over the next few months, as part of the city’s planned “upgrade”.

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