baishizhou: shenzhen’s center and periphery

Friday, April 20, 2018, Handshake 302 had the privilege of hosting Wu Xiaoya’s (吴晓雅) sharing about her recently published book, Baishizhou: Shenzhen’s Center and Periphery (白石洲:深圳的中心与边缘。深圳报业集团出版社,2018). Roughly twenty people squeezed into the backroom at Banxian Coffee House, which graciously offered its space for the two-hour event. Of note? The audience comprised a representative sample of the young intellectuals interested in Shenzhen’s urban villages, including recent college graduates who currently live in urban villages, graduate and doctoral students from Shenzhen University, and several second generation Shenzheners who are active in the city’s 公益 scene. We gathered not only to discuss Baishizhou specifically, but also the so-called “urban village phenomenon.” Continue reading

Baishizhou music video!

For the curious, a folk song about Baishizhou.

The song is credited to 七弦花 and the lyrics make it clear — cheap housing make Baishizhou the station of choice for young migrants.

The song begins, take a walk with me through where I live. Crowded buildings stretch to the sky and we cannot see the sky. Girls smile like flowers and hold cigarettes in their hands. The kiosks keep expanding and money goes missing from a bowl.

And continues: you see adverts for housing everywhere, and it’s easy to get a room. Old stub and second hand stores and never ending bills. Moving trucks parked on the side of the road and business cards from moving companies.

The heavily accented voices of immigrants saying where they live in Baishizhou.

Smell of beer and charcoal briquettes are burning lives. And the smoke stings our eyes inside Baishizhou. Pop songs permeate the streets here in Baishizhou.

Images and sentiment reflect the mood of many young immigrants who want the shenzhen dream and live Baishizhou reality…