In Beijing, finding an affordable rental is hard as hell
By 袁琳 | 谷雨实验室
August 21, 2018
A rental crisis is unfolding in Beijing. While apartment rental prices have been high for many years, this summer has been exceptionally excruciating for people who don’t own their own housing. According to a new report from the China Real Estate Association, average rents in the capital soared about 21% from last year. Several million tenants, especially young people, are struggling to make monthly payments.
Last week, Hu Jinghui 胡景晖, the former vice chief executive officer of real estate firm Wo Ai Wojia 我爱我家, resigned from his position after he exposed that many agencies inflate rents by leasing out units at rates 20 to 40 percent higher than current market prices.
To curb the astronomical rise in housing costs, the Beijing government instructed real estate agencies and developers to increase the supply of affordable housing. On Sunday, the Beijing Real Estate Agency Association announced that 20 rental platforms would supply an additional 120,000 units of economic housing, according to Sixth Tone. But it’s clear that a one-time increase in housing supply ordered by the government is insufficient to save a rent-burdened generation from a bleak future if we factor in surging demand, stagnant wages, and a lack of price guidelines for renting.
Here is some recent writing on the dire situation facing renters of modest means who want to live in Beijing:
- Middle-class people can’t renew their leases anymore / 谷雨实验室
When asked what’s his position in Beijing, Liu Miao 刘渺, who’s been living in the city for 18 years and earns more than 10,000 per month, told the reporter: “Struggling just above the poverty line.”
- Who raised your rent? / 浪潮工作室
“The situation in China is that on one hand, the government controls the housing market and land. Its strict land policies resulted in the skyrocketing prices of real estate, forcing people to rent instead of buy. On the other hand, the country lacks a well-established rental system to stabilize rental costs and protect the rights of renters. People are trapped in the middle and have to leave big cities eventually.”
- Has your rent increased yet? / 三表龙门阵
“People always say it’s hard to live in Beijing. But before, the difficulty stemmed from the distance between reality and dream. It’s like eating Chinese pancakes in an underground apartment while thinking about coffee in CBD. But now, the difficulty makes you feel like the reality is so stressful that you want to escape.”
- When Beijing drifters complain about rents, what do locals have to say? / 谷雨实验室
- All the lies and nonsense about rental costs / 布尔费墨
- Did greedy capitalists push up rents? / 南方周末
- Beijing welcomes you while its rents scare you to death / Vista看天下
- Rents hung overhead / 中国企业家杂志
Hong Kong media’s obsession with ‘crazy women’
By 安小庆 | 人物
August 19, 2018
Capturing the embarrassing moments of celebrities is a feature of tabloid media all over the world, but entertainment magazines in Hong Kong are particularly obsessed with finding joy in famous people’s misery. And in this hideous business, women are often the targets — especially those who once had success in show biz but are now suffering from poverty and mental issues.
In this essay, author An Xiaoqing 安小庆 argues that this brutal approach of reporting on the demise of female celebrities is like a public trial against rebellious women who challenged patriarchy but failed, “What’s behind this long-lasting interest in ‘displaying insanity’ and ‘consuming insanity’ is not only a collective anxiety of impoverishment and fear of losing privileges attached to a certain class in Hong Kong’s hyper-capitalist society, but also the city’s mighty patriarchy’s enduring habit of systematically objectifying, harming, exploiting, and consuming women.”
The anti-second child alliance
By 卫潇雨 | 谷雨实验室
August 20, 2018
To prevent their parents from having a second child, a group of teenagers congregated online and formed an alliance. Sharing a same belief that “the moment when a second child is born, the family shatters,” members of the alliance sometimes resort to aggressive methods, such as self-harm, suicide threats, and even poisoning their moms to cause miscarriage. In this gut-wrenching story, Guyu Lab 谷雨实验室 talks to three of them, trying to understand why they hold such a strong grudge against their potential siblings.
What happened after I reported sexual harassment
By 杨宙 | 人物
August 22, 2018
In July, Xuanzi 弦子, a former intern at China Central Television (CCTV), came forward with sexual assault allegations against Zhu Jun 朱军, a 54-year-old high-profile television host in China. On August 15, Zhu hit back against what his lawyer called “false information” regarding accusations of sexual harassment. He announced that a lawsuit has been filed at the Beijing Haidian District People’s Court against Xuanzi’s friend who shared her story on social media. According to the attorney, the owner of the social media post must take legal responsibility for “spreading rumors.”
After Xuanzi’s story was reported, she has been interviewed by various Chinese media outlets. She has often been asked by critical reporters to recall details of the incident, leading her into a state of constant self-interrogation and occasional mental breakdown.
In this article, Xuanzi gives an account of what exactly happened four years ago, why she chose to share her story, and what she wants to achieve in this ongoing battle against Zhu.