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To move the low-end masses, first move the high-end masses

March 13, 2015

It is not acceptable to “drive out the low-end group” by keeping their children out of schools

“In Touch Today,” from Tencent


the high-end masses

the high-end masses


the low-end masses

Beijing this year implemented “the strictest policy in history” for non-permanent residents to admit their children to schools. As a person connected to the operation leaked, the real purpose of this is population control, as a way to drive out the low-end group. But this type of policy not only violates the spirit of compulsory education, but it is questionable as to whether it will actually achieve its aim or not.

Driving out the lower end group to control the population mistakes the incidentals for the fundamentals

From the beginning of this year, population control has become a major event in Beijing. The government has been blowing out wind, declaring its position unceasingly. Since this strict policy has appeared, it has obviously been regarded as a thorough population control measure. A Tongzhou Education Commission official has said to some Tongzhou household heads, “this is a major trend happening in Beijing, they want to drive the low-end group and the [wholesale] markets out of Beijing.”

The following fable comes to mind: because on earth there were unceasing problems between rich and poor, it was decided to move all the poor people to a different planet, then the two would be separated. Even so, after the migration was completed, it was discovered that many rich people had snuck onto the poor peoples’ planet, and many poor people had managed to stay on the rich peoples’ planet. When these people were asked why they did not go to their own planet, the rich said they wanted the poor peoples’ services and benefits, and the poor people said they were used to following after the rich people to make a living.

This fable illustrates this social truth: poor people and rich people are unable to completely separate from each other. If you take all the “low-end people” and drive them out of Beijing, then who will perform services for the high end. Is it possible that Zhao Wei [famous actress/celebrity] will go and serve Fan Bingbing [another famous actress/celebrity] as a housemaid? Will Zhang Chaoyang [businessman, founder of the Sohu search engine] go and give Li Yanhong [businessman, founder of Baidu search engine] foot massages? On the other hand, many low-end people do not mind giving up their homes to go and work in Beijing, going straight to the places where there are many high-end people, because those are the places where resources and opportunities are many.

As an example of the way in which a concentration of resources brings life and opportunity to the low-end masses, consider how the two Dahongmen clothing wholesale markets in the Beijing zoo area started. We know that these two markets, because they belong to the category of“low-end,” are in the process of being moved out of Beijing. But how did they originally come about? Beijing, for the sake of the high-end people, set up a highly developed transportation network. Small clothing retailers coming in to Beijing from elsewhere to replenish their stock, discovered that with this more convenient transportation network they could return home the very same day. As more retailers began coming in more frequently, this increased demand gradually drove the expansion of the wholesale markets into their current size.
Therefore, if the government wants population control, they should first move the “high-end masses,” because the low-end people will follow after them.

When it comes to moving the high-end masses, there has been much talk but little action, but “driving out the low-end population” has happened vigorously and quickly.

There have been continuous rumors that Beijing will disperse batches of the high-end masses, that from this year schools, hospitals, state-run enterprises, ministries and commissions, and other subordinate government offices will be relocated, but it is obvious that nothing is going to come of it. Whenever the media reports on a relocation project, the high-end people who would be affected all say, “We cannot move.” When the high-end masses say they cannot move, then they don’t have to move, but the low-end masses can shout and protest all they like, and they are still forced to move.

Beijing has actually for quite some time had a policy of relocating the low-end masses. In the past they moved those low-end masses that had Beijing permanent residency– those that lived in hutongs (traditional alley neighborhoods) in one story houses, the lower strata of society. From 2005 to 2011, in the “capital functioning center,” that is Dongcheng and Xicheng, in all they reduced the population by 72,000 people. In Changping district and other surrounding areas they built many large residential towers with a complete set of facilities, and sent the low end masses who had been living in the city center to those places. After they had moved the permanent resident low-end people out, even more non-permanent resident low-end people moved in and rapidly filled the vacant space. The population of the center city increased by 170,000, migrants from elsewhere.

Why did one batch of low-end masses leave, only to replaced by a new batch? Because the people with power and authority stay in the city center without relinquishing it and that attractive power continues to draw the low-end masses.

What driving out the low-end population does to families

Although the government’s population control policy creates a lot of trouble and inconvenience for the low-end group, those who have come to the city to pursue a better life manage to find some way to stay in the city. However, keeping the whole family together becomes very difficult. Refusing to admit the children of non-permanent residents to Beijing schools, is an extremely effective method to break up a family and keep them from living together. However, this aggravates the social problem of children and the elderly left alone to ”mind the house.” The media in recent years has reported on horrific, inhuman cases of repeated sexual assault occurring to young girls and elderly women. With families being forced to live apart, more of this population is vulnerable.

Although the policy of not admitting non-permanent resident children to Beijing schools does drive many children back to their hometowns, there are many others who end up staying with their parents. These children who are unable to go to school receive no guidance, making it easy for them to develop into problem youths. The video from Naixi village that went viral on the internet is a good example of this. As one youth in Naixi village said, almost all of the young people in Naixi village are from somewhere else. They have no money, they do not go to school, they hang around the internet café every day, or play ping pong. Without money, about all they can do is find some younger kids to extort money from.

konjaku: Naixi village incident: In May 2014, in a village in Chaoyang, Cuigezhuang, where many migrant families live, a video was made of three older boys assaulting a younger boy, including throwing a brick at his head. The three were arrested, and fortunately the younger boy survived the attack. The attackers became symbols of the lack of social services available for children of migrant worker families. In articles about the incident the three attackers are called “school drop-outs,” but if there is a policy of not admitting non-permanent resident children to schools, the population of children with nothing to do all day can only increase.

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