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Challenges for white collar migrants

05-30-2011 09:46 BJT

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Working in different cities is now commonplace in China. Last year's sixth national census found non-native urban populations in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have increased by 80 percent, compared to 10 years ago.

Statistics show that one in three Beijing residents have come from other parts of the country. My colleague Zhang Shuo takes a look at the ups and downs faced by one such person, as they try to make a life in China's capital....

This is Xiaomi.She's a 25-year-old designer working in the China International Trade Center, downtown Beijing. Alongside shopping, one of her favorite hobbies is sunbathing... something that's not so easy in this overcrowded metropolis.

Xiaomi said, "The buildings around my apartment are very near one another. So there's no light, even at noon."

This is Xiaomi's apartment. Her window is only centimeters away from the next building. The light has to be on at all times.

And the flat is often damp.

Xiaomi said, "It's very damp here. Sometimes water comes up from the ground."

But the huge contrast between her modern work place and shabby home is not Xiaomi's biggest challenge.

It's the distance between the two.

Xiaomi said, "I spend 4 hours on crowded public transport every day."

Each day, Xiaomi walks 15 minutes from her office to subway line 10. After a 9 kilometer ride, she transfers to line 13 for another 20 kilometers. She finally leaves the subway for a bus, and has to endure another 8 stops before arriving at her apartment.

Xiaomi said, "Every day I feel exhausted. I often fall asleep and miss the transfer station."

Xiaomi is not alone in this Beijing suburb. Nearly 30 thousand people from other cities live here, in an area originally meant to hold 12 thousand people.

Local residents are trying desperately to build more homes. But quantity often beats quality, and living conditions leave a lot to be desired.

Even so, the low rents are still an attractive proposition.

Every morning, Xiaomi rises at 6 to start another hard day in Beijing. And unlike her daily bus route, with its end always in sight, Xiaomi may soon start to wonder where her life is going...


Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: CNTV.CN

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