Day 154: Why are 2 Million Living in Bomb Shelters in Beijing?

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HOUSING  in Beijing, China is so expensive as many as  2,000,000 people are living in underground bomb shelters.
I first heard about his astonishing statistic on The National, a Canadian nightly news broadcast, May 14, 2013.
The story focused on 24-year-old Xiang Xiaojiang, a migrant worker who earns $600  a month at an online retail centre in Beijing. He told reporters living above ground is financially out of reach for him, he pays $100 a month for a 100 square foot room with no windows and no private bathroom. It is a dark and dismal maze of tiny apartments through underground tunnels.
There are thousands of these tiny spaces located just one or two stories below street level. If this figure, of 2 million, is accurate, that would mean 10 percent of the city’s 20 million people sleep in windowless, subterranean residences.
This problem is a reflection of the growing gap between rich and poor in Beijing, as well the wildly expensive housing market in China’s largest cities.
This quote, is taken from an article published in an online paper ‘The Atlantic Cities’   http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/04/beijings-bomb-shelter-dwellers-may-be-making-rational-choice-about-their-commute/5293/
‘And yet, if you ask them, many of these people, most of them migrant workers, will tell you their choice to live underground is vastly better than the alternative.’
Sounds so familiar doesn’t it?  The famous old, ‘Well if their children didn’t work in that sweat shop, they would all starve and be on the street, just ask them, they are grateful!’  justifying our blind greed as we continue on a never ending quest for the latest fashion, at department stores all over America.

So, the issue being non-affordable housing, within reasonable distance in the city, so that people don’t have to spend hours commuting, there is also a cost associated with a commute and these people cannot afford to purchase a car!  They are stuck between an rock and a hard placed and end up with little choice, living in a bomb shelter being  the lesser of two evils.

The point being, these spaces have led to a rise in dangerous living conditions and it is obviously mentally/emotionally unhealthy as well, as it is common to find multiple people sharing these small emergency shelters.Would you want this for yourself or your family, as your home?  No. So why do we assume/think  it is ok for anyone else?  It is quite a depressing sight and is no place for children, or anyone, to call home.

Why is housing not a basic human right globally?  Why is a safe, secure, affordable home not guaranteed to all human beings on earth?  Surely, all need a dwelling place and,  as a physical being equal to any other physical being, all deserve a home!

I live in Canada, within the ‘Canadian Bill of Rights’ part 1, it states:

“1. It is hereby recognized and declared that in Canada there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, national origin, colour, religion or sex, the following human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely,

(a) the right of the individual to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property”

I do not know for sure, but I’m going to guess many countries have some such similar statement within their bill of rights. It sounds good but  is  materialized only for some, so in reality, it is useful as a goal only.

There is no excuse for this situation. As human beings, one and equal, all deserve a home above ground, with windows and all the necessities to provide a enjoyable environment for their families.

aHR0cCUzQSUyRiUyRjIuYnAuYmxvZ3Nwb3QuY29tJTJGLXUzMEFHdFVCbW9NJTJGVVpmMU1NVm5GTEklMkZBQUFBQUFBQUNYZyUyRnBUeVpSU1QyOHJvJTJGczMyMCUyRkVxdWFsJTJCbW9uZXklMkJlYXJ0aCUyQm1hcC5qcGc=Please investigate: Equal Money System here

http://equalmoney.org/wiki/Housing

And the Equal Life Foundation : Bill of Rights here

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