A hidden story: China’s migrant workers

3 May


This is an interesting news report from the BBC that tells the story of a migrant worker in China, who had to leave her rural village to find work just outside of Beijing. It gives a perspective of the difficulties these workers face despite living just a few miles away from prosperity.

It highlights the struggles of many rural workers who seek to escape the poverty of rural areas yet are unable to support themselves in the central areas of larger cities on low-paid jobs, such as in charity shops. With over 260 million migrant workers in China, a fifth of the country’s population, the story is a common one and much needs to be done to secure the social security of this growing demographic.


One Response to “A hidden story: China’s migrant workers”

  1. cw12g11 May 3, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    What we have seen overtly in the past 30 years, since the successful economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping is this urban to rural disparity within China. The lives within these two very different areas is vastly different with the urban Chinese generally enjoying a far more prosperous, wealthy lifestyle than those living in the poor, marginalised confides of rural China. One must remember that 70% of China is made of peasants, who predominantly live in these rural areas. When Xinran, a Chinese radio journalist explored the lives of some of China’s rural women she stumbled upon this clear distinction between the lives of China’s urban and rural population. She found that large numbers of people from rural communities tended to leave their hometown without any further education and move to find jobs in developing cities, working in construction industries for example. Significantly, it was under Mao Zedong who aimed to aid the rural Chinese population by providing them with employment and getting them out into the factories, workplaces etc. However, it’s clear to see that simply, these reforms were relatively ineffective. In fact an urban worker in China today receives 42% greater pay than a rural worker. A Realist argument would be that simply as long as the wealthy urban bourgeoisie are still manufacturing and producing goods in the factories to enhance the economy then there would be little need to worry about the rural proletariat. However, the levels of this rural to urban disparity has reached staggering heights as shown by a recent survey that found for urban Chinese citizen that commits suicide, four rural Chinese citizens commit suicide. A combination of poverty, arranged marriages, unemployment and limited economic opportunities have contributed to this staggering statistic.


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