“If one day I have to leave, I hope I can be buried here. I can feel my presence, and there are so many things I'm attached to here.” These are the lyrics from the Chinese song “Beijing, Beijing”.
Over the years, the capital has been the place where many could build a better future for themselves. It enticed them to leave their hometowns, and formed what is known as the “bei piao” or “Beijing Drifters”.
The first generations of “bei piao” were artists or those who worked in the film industry. Because of China's current residential system, it was difficult for them to hold a local household record. Newcomers are often said to be drifting their way through life without a true sense of belonging.
These days, as a result of free mobility, more and more people are joining the large group of "bei piao". They are usually highly-driven go-getters, but challenges still remain.
With an uncertain housing market and sky-high rents, many choose to live on the outskirts of the capital, causing long commutes. In recent years, the Beijing municipal government launched projects to build sub-centers in the capital's suburbs and expand its transportation infrastructure. Perhaps, “Beijing Drifters” will one day find their dream city a friendlier place to live.
CGTN's special series “Chinese Terminology”, which was launched on November 26, marks the 40-year anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up program. The episodes, hosted by CGTN anchors Jeff Moody and Jonathan Betz, are being aired every day at 20:15, 12:00 and 16:00 BJT. Click on the link to find out more about this amazing shift for China's economy.