City officials have declared a campaign against ‘illegal structures’ that house millions of migrant workers who run the city’s restaurants and shops

More than a hundred Chinese intellectuals and scholars have decried a “ruthless” campaign to evict thousands of migrant workers from Beijing.

The latest round of evictions began in the wake of a fire on 18 November that killed 19 people in an industrial neighbourhood in south Beijing, and 17 of the victims were migrants. City officials have declared a 40-day campaign against “illegal structures”, which for years have housed the millions of migrant workers who run Beijing’s restaurants, delivery companies, construction sites, retail shops and a host of small factories.

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