On Nov. 18, 2017, a fire tearing through a cramped, low-budget Beijing apartment building killed 19 lives. Authorities then responded by launching Beijing’s biggest eviction drive in at least a decade. This move is set to evict tens of thousands of low-paid migrant workers. Small shops operated from illegal openings cut in the wall are also one of the targets of demolition.
Although the campaign aims to improve the city, critics accuse the government of targeting a vulnerable population with few rights. It is generally believed that the move is to reduce the population in some parts of the city by 15% to ease pressure on its overcrowded infrastructure.