Daxing Is On Fire
Release year: 2018
Run time: 74 mins
Film type: Documentary
In November 2017, a fire broke out in a low-rent tenement building at Xinjian Village in Daxing District, an area in the southern suburbs of Beijing. 19 people died and eight were injured. In the Beijing government’s efforts immediately following to secure safety and minimize security risks in the city, mass eviction of migrant workers was carried out in the name of demolishing “illegal constructions”.
Li Zhiyong, working at a logistic company, moved into Xinjian Village in 2014. After the fire he was evicted and started living in a van. His company lost its office and could only unload shipments under a bridge. Li promises his wife that they will one day live in a building, but the bulldozers destroy their dreams. After moving three times, Li decides to go back to his hometown. His final words to Beijing are: “It’s not that I don’t work hard. The reality is too cruel!”
Chen Jiaping is a poet and documentary director from China. He started filming migrants in Beijing in 2003. From 2010 to 2014 he documented the “rights defence” movements of migrant students’ parents. From 2016, he has been engaged in the Toxic/Independent (duli, 毒立) Cinema Movement, of which he is one of the initiators. In October 2017, he completed the documentary film The Orphans, which was collected by the Institute of Chinese Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2019.