Many mi­grants live a real life in Bei­jing, not pre­tend to do so

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - VIEWS -

Did you have din­ner with your col­lege mates or old friends this year in Bei­jing? Are those who of­ten dine with you your col­leagues? Do you usu­ally re­ceive or see off your friends at air­ports or train sta­tions? And you don’t go to Wukesong Arena to sup­port Bei­jing’s bas­ket­ball team, Bei­jing Ducks, or to Work­ers’ Sta­dium to cheer the city’s soc­cer club, Bei­jing Guo’an, right?

If your an­swers to all the ques­tions are pos­i­tive, you are one of the first-gen­er­a­tion im­mi­grants living in Bei­jing, you don’t have any an­ces­tral prop­erty in the city and you are not plan­ning to mi­grate to a for­eign coun­try, in fact, you are just pre­tend­ing to have a life in Bei­jing ac­cord­ing to a re­cent ar­ti­cle posted on so­cial me­dia plat­form WeChat.

The ar­ti­cle, “In Bei­jing, 20 mil­lion peo­ple are pre­tend­ing to have a life”, was read by about 5 mil­lion peo­ple in a cou­ple of days and sparked a heated de­bate among ne­ti­zens. Es­sen­tially, the ar­ti­cle says Bei­jing still be­longs to its “na­tive” res­i­dents, and out­siders with­out an­ces­tral prop­erty in the city are doomed to keep pur­su­ing their dream — of own­ing a house. And those who re­al­ize this dream will con­tinue to live in the city and those who don’t have to re­turn to their home­towns sooner or later or pre­tend to live in the cap­i­tal.

After read­ing the ar­ti­cle, I re­al­ized it was full of hasty gen­er­al­iza­tions based on the au­thor’s per­sonal frus­tra­tions of living in Bei­jing and was sur­prised that it had cre­ated such a stir.

And peo­ple who are nos­tal­gic about their home­towns are not nec­es­sar­ily re­ject­ing the Bei­jing way of life ... we don’t pre­tend to live in Bei­jing.

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