- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
Is Beijing is a city of dreams? For 27-year-old Dong Ying, it may be. Two years ago, the sports teacher relocated from a small city in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang to the Chinese metropolis.
Since then she goes from fitness club to fitness club every day, working as a trainer. She pedals, she bends and straightens and basically ensures that the affluent city residents stay in shape. To reach her students, she spends four hours each day traveling on the city’s subway. But Dong Ting has an accommodation problem. The cost of an apartment would eat most of her $450 month salary, so she and hundreds of thousands like her are forced to live in cellars and air-raid shelters underneath apartment blocks in the Chinese capital. Every month she pays $68 for the room, around 15 percent of her income. Other tenants must live even further down, on the cellar’s second level, where the rent is even cheaper.
The citizens of Beijing call them the “ant people” because of the way they live on top of one another. If they want to live close to their workplaces, they have to go underground. The city’s housing market in some ways symbolizes the new communist China – a society in which the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.
Click here for reuse options!