tirsdag 12. januar 2021

Danke Apartment: The 'broken eggshell' that left young Chinese homeless

On a cold winter's evening recently, Beijing resident Xiaoyue and his wife returned to their rented flat after dinner - only to find another couple standing at their door, changing the locks. The man and woman were their landlords. They wanted Xiaoyue and his wife out of their apartment immediately, because they hadn't paid their rent for months. Xiaoyue was stunned. "I was completely unprepared for this," he told the BBC in a recent interview. The 28-year-old said he had been paying his rent in huge lump sums, sometimes for six months at a go.

So where had his money gone? Xiaoyue would soon find out that he and his landlords were among the many victims of a housing controversy that has exposed the vulnerability of China's young urban workers and become a cautionary tale of the country's exuberant tech start-up scene.

It has reportedly left many young Chinese - potentially thousands - homeless. Some say they have been forced out onto the streets in the middle of a freezing winter, and one even reportedly killed himself. Many homeowners also say they are owed massive amounts of unpaid rent.