Walled Communities in Beijing Fight Crime, Spark Controversy

Small enclaves of low-wage workers in Beijing have been walled off from their surroundings in an effort to reduce crime. The separating walls have become a local controversy.
October 6, 2010, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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This article looks at the area of Shoubaozhuang, one of many small villages of migrant workers that have developed in and around Beijing.

"It was chosen, along with 15 other areas in the Daxing district of Beijing, to be walled off to outsiders, in what officials say is an experimental effort to curb crime. The authorities say the experiment has been a success - the Communist Party-run People's Daily said the crime rate in the walled villages in Daxing district dropped by 73 percent from April to July this year - and the "walled village" concept is being quickly expanded to other districts outside Beijing's center that are populated by migrant workers.

Ultimately, the project could encompass an area of 291 square miles with a population of 3.4 million people, more than 80 percent of them migrant workers."

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Published on Sunday, October 3, 2010 in The New York Times
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