Shenzhen's pre-Universiade eviction of 80,000 "high-risk people" sparks controversy   2011-04-13 11:15:42 FeedbackPrintRSS

SHENZHEN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- A southern Chinese city sparked a firestorm of controversy after it drove out "hazardous" migrants as part of its efforts to spruce itself for Universiade.

Shen Shaobao, a spokesman for the Shenzhen municipal police, said on Sunday that a 100-day police crackdown involved the eviction of more than 80,000 people who "pose a threat" to the upcoming 26th Universiade. The global event will take place in mid-August in Shenzhen City in southern China' s Guangdong Province.

"Ex-cons, suspected drug users, and those reported to take part in 'abnormal' activities or have suspicious incomes fall into the category," said Shen.

The blacklist also included immigrants without proper employment and tenants using false identification to rent houses, said Shen.

On, China' s top search engine, a search using the keywords "Shenzhen high-risk people" resulted in 576,000 news items or articles on the issue as of Tuesday night.

The issue also became a heated topic on most online forums, as many netizens questioned the legitimacy and rationality of the hard-line policy.

"The move is both illegal and inhumane. How could they label someone as 'high-risk' , and based on which law could they evict people?" netizen Xuxiaonian posted on, a twitter-like microblogging site. Users shared the comment 417 times in an hour.

"How will other cities treat the people who were labeled a threat to Shenzhen?" asked a netizen using the nickname Yezhe Lingnanren.

Some local residents, however, blamed Shenzhen' s criminal reputation on the immigrants and showed their support for the eviction.

"It is right that the government should treat the city' s social security seriously," said a local resident and a robbery victim who only gave her surname, Huang.

The southern boomtown of Shenzhen is permanently inhabited by 6.5 million migrants, most of who work in the city' s bustling factories, compared to the 2.5 million-strong locally registered population. Many believe that the uneven population structure underpins the city' s high crime rate.

Guo Weiqing, a professor of public policy at Sun Yat-sen University, said that the eviction policy revealed Shenzhen' s inability to handle its influx of migrants, a problem faced by many Chinese cities in their headlong rush toward urbanization.

"The city government, for want of effective measures, is prone to taking such emergency measures, which may cause a deluge of long-term problems," said Guo.

"The government should be more flexible and systematic in its policymaking and use more social forces in dealing with such problems," said Guo.

Editor: Wang Guanqun
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