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Finding home is a snap with website
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-03-31 01:39

Zhou Qizhi, a young woman from Northeast China's Liaoning Province, happily moved into a rented house in Dongcheng District of Beijing last week after almost half-a-year hunting for a place to live.

"It's really a time-consuming thing for a newcomer to settle down in Beijing. I tried and tried to find a rental but every time failed, "Zhou said.

"Fortunately, the hard nut was easier to crack when I found a special website, "Zhou said with a big smile.

The website she mentioned -- www.ldrkzj.com -- is operated by the Doncheng Division of the Beijing Public Security Bureau. It made its official debut Tuesday after a one-month-long trial run.

Zhou said she posted a message about wanting to rent a house on the website last month and soon got a response from a local police officer.

The police woman, Gong Haiying, who helped Zhou find the rental, is the initiator of the website. She has been helping migrants for more than a decade in the Dongcheng District.

"Being newcomers, migrant people, including foreign expats, are total strangers to the city," Gong explained. "They encounter various problems settling down here, such as how to apply for residence certification, how to rent a suitable house, and how to get their children enrolled in school."

Gong said she came up with the idea of a website when she heard a newcomer complain last October that it was a total mess to apply for all the various papers needed and that information was scarce.

"There are more than 100,000 transient people in the Dongcheng District. Many of them do not have any relatives or friends here. It's a huge group that needs care and help," said Gong.

"The website is a `family' for the floating population where they can exchange experiences, search for regulations and information, as well as ask questions of us," said Gong.

She said it can also help the police improve their efficiency in managing incoming people.

An English version of the website will soon be put on the Internet for foreigners and at police divisions in other district of Beijing.

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