Most migrants in Beijing are manual laborers but a growing number are college graduates — nearly 30 percent, according to a 2015 study. Another study found that the city’s software and information technology sectors employed about 346,000 migrants.
“To young tech workers like me, there’s really no option — only the big cities like Beijing have more opportunities,” said Hu Xianyu, 22, an intern at Baidu, the internet search giant, who moved to Beijing from the northern province of Shanxi and was forced out of his apartment last month.
“Tech workers for the bigger companies can get help from them,” he said. “But for those working for small companies or start-ups, the evictions can be disastrous.”
Migrant workers have often reacted to the eviction orders with angry resignation. But small confrontations have flared up, and the largest and most organized protest broke out on Sunday, when hundreds of people in a neighborhood in northeast Beijing scheduled for clearance gathered and chanted “violent evictions violate human rights.”
The effects of the crackdown are already evident in Beijing’s booming e-commerce sector, which relies on legions of couriers — nearly all of them migrants — to deliver packages and meals on electric bikes.
Last month, five delivery companies warned of delivery delays following the expulsions.
Gan Wei, secretary-general of the China Electronic Commerce Logistics Industry Alliance, said the companies represented by her group would have to raise delivery prices in Beijing by about 20 percent.