Beijing is rapidly demolishing its own city, and 27,000 billboards are next

(Photo: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Beijing has deemed 27,000 signs across the city illegal, and intends to remove them all by the end of 2017.
  • This campaign aims to beautify the city’s skyline.
  • The removals come as Beijing also battles to demolish the homes of thousands of rural migrants and workers around the city.

Beijing is trying to beautify its skyline by demolishing 27,000 billboards, signs, and logos across the city.

The removals ramped up in November, the same time mass evictions began across Beijing, which saw tens of thousands of locals – mostly “low-end population” migrants and workers – being kicked out of their homes and out of the city altogether. The evictions are officially part of a 40-day safety campaign, however waves of demolitions have raised suspicion the city is trying to redesign and gentrify itself.

The city’s new skyline campaign, which was initially set out in September, aims to”purify the city space and to create a beautiful skyline.”

So far, a third of the 27,000 newly illegal signs have been removed.

Beijing is currently targeting “knife signs,” logos, and billboards that sit above a building’s edge and cut into the sky.

Other signs cannot be more than three stories high, longer than five feet, use reflective materials or external lighting, according to South China Morning Post. Buildings taller than three stories are also limited to only have the building’s name displayed on its roof.

It’s not just private businesses being targeted. The Bank of Beijing and a police station had signs removed, the South China Morning Post reported, while hospitals, luxury hotels, internet companies, state-owned enterprises, and government organisations have also been affected, according to Caixin.

A hotline has also been set up for individuals to report illegal billboards.

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