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via flavorwire
Unkindly, they call them China’s “Rat Tribe.” Several floors underneath Beijing, a million migrant workers are living in tiny, dank rooms. They work as karaoke hostesses, guards, beauticians, and waiters, they are the backbone of China’s service industry and they can’t make ends meet above ground. They live in the basements below apartment blocks and in the air raid tunnels where the partitioned, windowless rooms sometimes barely fit a single bed. There’s mold and mildew and a chilly draft, but at least the rooms cost 300 to 700 yuan ($50 to $110), right? Sometimes a single dreamer, sometimes a whole family live underground, hoping to move up one day, soon. See a few photos from the amazing essay by Sim Chi Yin, spotted by Hyperallergic, is a documentarian’s look into the places “the tribe” calls home and why, as they face massive government eviction over the next few years.

sim chi yin