In recent years, animal rights campaigners have fought against the horrific living conditions of chickens reared in battery cages. Yet, in Hong Kong, humans are being made to suffer similar indignities.
Hong Kong is one of the world’s biggest cities, with more Louis Vuitton shops than Paris. Yet, as a recent article in the Daily Mail explains, the gap between the city’s rich and poor is stark. It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people are forced to live in 6ft by 2 ½ ft cages due to a luxury property boom that is pricing the poorest out of the market. These “homes” are sometimes stacked three levels high, with 20 to a room. For such degrading conditions, landlords are charging $200 per month.
Cheung lives in one such cage in Sham Shui Po. He explains that it is not only the limited space that he has to combat but temperatures that ‘can be two to three degrees higher than what they are outside’ – a serious problem in a notoriously hot and humid city. Furthermore, the cages cannot keep out the creepy crawlies: ‘sometimes I am worried if lizards or cockroaches will crawl into my ears at night’ said Cheung.
Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights declares the ‘right of everyone to an adequate standard of living.’ A government would be hard pressed to describe these cages as ‘adequate.’ However, China is not a signatory to the Covenant. Perhaps it’s time to campaign for free range humans.
Photo Credit: Stephen Codrington