Ode to Shunyi

A poem by Tom Fearon

We’ve built roads and planted trees
Our malls are new and our parks are free
Our population has increased
As more people head northeast
Because there’s no better place to be
Than right here in Shunyi

We’ve made our district pretty
Kicked migrant workers to the city
We live in tidy villa homes
Near thriving economic zones
From the city you should flee
It’s time to move to Shunyi

Protests and corrupt authorities
Suspicious ethnic minorities
Hipster expats and overpriced beer
We don’t have that stuff here
Our chengguan are firm but fair
Our petitioners are rare
If land is grabbed it’s safe to guess
It’s in the name of our progress 
Just one visit and you’ll agree
You should live in Shunyi

We have Burger King and Starbucks 
But if you like skyscrapers you’re out of luck
Life is simpler in the outskirts
Where we’re developing in rapid spurts
Our five-year plan is well distilled
Like our baijiu, brewed with skill
Heaven north of the Yangtze
Is right here in Shunyi

Good Samaritans who don’t hesitate
Babies outdoors who don’t defecate
You don’t shove or cause a scene
On the subway’s line 15
No need for the third degree
You belong in Shunyi

Private clinics, international schools
Strict adherence to traffic rules
Life’s better beyond the sixth ring road
Play Beijing on “easy” mode
An emerald-green golf course
Korean businessmen endorse
Let your spirit run free
By joining us in Shunyi

Our electric taxis drive for miles
The fares are fair and the drivers smile
Planes roar above our blue skies
Where we have lower AQI
Escape your filthy hutong
Out here is where you belong
A better life we guarantee
If you move to Shunyi

An impartial district people’s court
Olympic venue for water sports 
Our party chief has nothing to hide 
Except gray hair jet-black dyed
Abandon your snug cocoon
In that hell called “Sanlitun”
It’s just your cup of tea
Living here in Shunyi

Choking smog and gutter oil
Frogs in water soon to boil
The coast is clear, you can still live first-tier
If you make your own way here
Join dancing aunties in our squares
Where the music never blares
Everything you’d ever need
Is waiting in Shunyi

Also see Tom's other poems for the Anthill, Signing Off (from State Media) and Ode to the Ill-Fated Banquet

The editors apologise for running a poem like this after the Ray Wigdal affair. Shunyi's not all bad, promise