Over a million people are living in subterranean tunnels in China 50 years after they were built as a bomb shelter during the Cold War.
Low income workers known as the 'Rat Tribe' now occupy the tunnels, which cover an estimated area of 30 square miles.
Construction of the underground city, dubbed 'The Dungeon', began in 1969 when the threat of nuclear war was at its peak.
10,000 bunkers were built, and when the nuclear threat never materialised, migrant workers and students were ushered into them to live.
The living conditions inside the bunkers are basic, with mold and stagnant air due to the lack of ventilation.
This is one of those things that may be common knowledge, but I didn't know it and it blew my mind. You have a MILLION people living full time underneath Beijing in old, converted, nuclear bomb shelters. A MILLION. China has so many god damn people it blows my mind. When Wuhan was first in the news I had never heard of it. I assumed it was some little mid-sized city. Maybe the equivalent of like a Charlotte or something. WRONG. According to wikipedia, Wuhan has more people than New York. You know what is the Charlotte equivalent in China? This fucking underground city with what locals call the "rat tribe". It's actually more people than Charlotte. The Underground city in Beijing would be the 10th most populated city in America. If the Rat Tribe City were in the United States they'd be petitioning to get an MLB expansion team.
If you click on the link above you can see a lot of pictures of how people are living. Here is one and only one because getty charges $11 to use pictures
It looks like the world's shittiest garden apartment/dorm room, but at least you're safe from a nuclear war, which is why this system of buildings and tunnels were originally built by Mao to begin with.
You know where people in China could live instead of underground? How about one of the FIFTY(Yes, 50) "ghost cities" that China has built in the last 15 or so years.
They got these beautiful, highly designed, planned, and absolutely fucking EMPTY cities all across China. They even built a knock-off Paris.
You've SPECTACULAR places to live. Places that have incredible amenities like, you know, sunlight and air to breathe. And people are still choosing to live like moles. Maybe it isn't a choice per se, but if the official Chinese policy is that people aren't allowed to live underground full time and you have these expensively built cities all over the place just sitting around collecting dust then maybe you can ask people to relocate into the light and start a whole new place.
I've never been to China, but I am fascinated. I want to have a day with Donnie Does where I just ask him all of the dumb things rattling around my brain about this place, because so much of it makes no sense to me. This underground city though. Whoa, whoa that's weird. It's really fucking weird.