Slums in Beijing

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Plan your Beijing tour? If you are interested in slum tourism, Beijing is worth your exploring. Not all local sociologists agree that Beijing now has “slums” in downtown area behind all the shining high-rises and futuristic buildings, typically those seen in the big cities in some developed or underdeveloped countries.

However, some Beijing neighorhoods have many features of slums – ramshackle slummy buildings, illegally-built houses, foul-smelling public lavatories, piles of garbage, the hidden troubles for possible fires.

Though poor areas with bad housing, the Beijing-style slums are still safe places strictly controlled by the government, unlike those slums commonly seen as “breeding grounds” for social problems such as drug addiction, alcoholism, crime, high rates of mental illness, and suicide. I don’t know how many slum dwellers there are in Beijing, nor the complicated system surrounding these informal communities.

Today I just show you around a run-down area between Xingfu Dajie ( Happiness Street ) and Chongwenmen Waidajie (Chongwenmen Outer Street). The slum walking route starts from the east end of Dongbi Street, going through Dongtang Street and Xitang Street ann finishing at the west end of Xitang Street.

Walking into the east end of the Dongbi Street, a vendor selling cheap stuff – socks, combs, hair knots…

a vendor selling cheap stuff - socks, combs, hair knots...

a vendor selling cheap stuff – socks, combs, hair knots…

A street front food stand sells steamed buns, fries pies, deep-fried dough sticks, soya-bean milk
a vendor selling cheap stuff - socks, combs, hair knots...

a vendor selling cheap stuff – socks, combs, hair knots…

Making deep-fried dough sticks, a favorite food for breakfast
Making deep-fried dough sticks, a favorite food for breakfast

Making deep-fried dough sticks, a favorite food for breakfast

Enjoy eating out with the company of her dog
Enjoy eating out with the company of her dog

Enjoy eating out with the company of her dog

A street hairdresser is having a haircut for low-income dweller
A street hairdresser is having a haircut for low-income dweller

A street hairdresser is having a haircut for low-income dweller

The Dongbi Street is lined with slightly less slummy looking old buildings.
The Dongbi Street is lined with slightly less slummy looking old buildings.

The Dongbi Street is lined with slightly less slummy looking old buildings.

Continue to stroll along Dongbi Street, you will find many ramshackle buildings.

Off the main Dongbi Street, you will see narrower lanes lined with shabby single-storey brick houses

you will see narrower lanes lined with shabby single-storey brick houses

you will see narrower lanes lined with shabby single-storey brick houses

A chaos of eletric wires and many illegally-built houses
A chaos of eletric wires and many illegally-built houses

A chaos of eletric wires and many illegally-built houses

Simple shacks just piled up on each other
A chaos of eletric wires and many illegally-built houses

A chaos of eletric wires and many illegally-built houses

At the Xitang Street, peep into a run-down courtyard built to hide their squalor, and old and grim rooms.
peep into a run-down courtyard built to hide their squalor, and old state-owned dark and grim rooms.

peep into a run-down courtyard built to hide their squalor, and old state-owned dark and grim rooms.

Many illegally-built houses
many illegally-built houses

many illegally-built houses

Most of the local residents live happily by making an easy living in a much more difficult competitive living situation here in Beijing.

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