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Shanghai, Beijing populations drop as leaders block growth

Megacities oust migrants in hopes of easing congestion, real estate prices

China demolished tens of millions of square meters of illegal buildings recently, including this one in Daxing district about 15 km southwest of downtown Beijing. (Photo by Issaku Harada)

BEIJING -- The populations of Shanghai and Beijing dipped in 2017 as the Chinese megacities sought to stem inflows of people, tearing down illegal buildings and closing workplaces in order to send migrant workers packing.

The leaders of China's two biggest metropolises apparently are trying to alleviate the throngs of traffic and soaring real estate prices, but forcibly preventing people from flocking to the cities could hinder their economic growth down the road.

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