Beijing has intensified a city-wide eviction campaign of tenants from buildings it has designated as illegal following a fire in Daxing district that killed 19 people on November 18, including eight children.
A large number of migrant workers in Beijing are now being required to abandon their homes as the city aims to remove safety hazards.
Media reports say district governments have set strict deadlines with many migrant workers being given only three days to leave.
Moving companies have upped their fees and some landlords of approved housing have even doubled the rent they charge, according to local media reports.
The evictions have aroused heated discussions and many are sympathetic to the plight of the tenants who have been given limited time to move in temperatures that are well below freezing. The campaign has also been criticized as targeting the "low-end" population, referring mainly to migrant workers who can only afford very low-cost housing.
An official with the Beijing Administration of Work Safety told the Beijing News Sunday that it's totally "groundless" to accuse the campaign of targeting the "low-end" population.
"For multiple reasons, many migrants chose to live in these places but they don't understand the risks. For their personal safety and to avoid another tragedy, the government is taking responsible action to end the illegal operations and clear out hidden threats to safety. Our principle is life is paramount," he said.
According to a government circular, this round of safety inspections will continue until the end of December. (news from the global times)