Migrant workers in China

Migrant workers in China

Migrant workers struggle to find jobs as pandemic hits China’s factories
At a suburb area in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, hundreds of migrant workers were standing, sitting or squatting next to a temporary bus stop, with their bags, suitcases, kitchen items, sewing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners.  They were not fleeing a natural disaster, but a sluggish manufacturing industry that could not offer the jobs they had before the coronavirus pandemic.  Some had arrived in the manufacturing hub in southern China from Hubei province, where lockdowns have been lifted over the past weeks. They had quickly made the decision to leave, as the economic opportunities they had arrived in search of no longer existed. The scramble for labor as China sought
China wants to resume production. The problem? There are no workers
Provincial governments in China’s east coast manufacturing hubs have begun arranging buses, trains and flights to bring migrant workers back to factories as the country desperately tries to restart production halted by the coronavirus outbreak. Local authorities have been urged by President Xi Jinping to kick-start economic activity after an extended Lunar New Year holiday, but many businesses are finding one key component missing – workers. At least two-thirds of China’s nearly 300 million migrant workers had not returned to their jobs as of last Friday, according to estimates from China’s transport ministry.  Passenger traffic has not picked up either, with only 13 million people recorded
Billionaire owner of ‘American Factory’ defends his anti-union stance
The Chinese billionaire featured in the Netflix documentary American Factory has defended his country’s labor practices by criticizing unions, saying they hurt efficiency.  In China, American Factory prompted a wave of soul-searching about the human costs of the country’s economic success and the rise of super-rich entrepreneurs such as Cao Dewang, who owns factories at home and abroad.   The film, backed by Barack and Michelle Obama, documents what happens at two factories owned by Cao – one in Dayton, Ohio and the other in Fujian, southeastern China. Cao is a main character of the documentary, in which he comes across as a pragmatic Chinese businessman bringing jobs to America’s Rust Belt.
Online protest highlights woes of evicted children in Shenzhen
Chinese internet users have joined an online protest to support children who were forced to move out of one of Shenzhen’s biggest migrant neighorboods. Following calls from a performance artist called Nut Brother, WeChat users are sharing pictures of evicted migrant children, in order to pressure the government into finding new schools for them.  In China’s megacity of Shenzhen, home to some of the country’s biggest tech firms, so-called urban villages have housed successive waves of migrant workers and their families for decades. In a pattern repeated across much of the country, such neighborhoods, which provide cheap housing and services, are being gradually demolished to make way for mode
‘American Factory’: What Chinese see when they watch China go to Ohio
For American audiences, the Netflix documentary American Factory reveals the life of US workers on Chinese-owned production lines.  But for Chinese audiences, the film serves as a reminder of the human costs behind China’s rise as a manufacturing superpower.  The film, backed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company, documents how Chinese auto-glass company Fuyao built a factory near Dayton, Ohio, where thousands of workers were laid off when General Motors closed its plant in the Rust Belt a decade ago.  Fuyao brought not only new jobs to Ohio, but also the high expectations and harsh management that are customary in factories across China. It most notably spent more than $1 m
More and more of China’s migrant workers are staying home
China’s army of migrant workers, a source of cheap labor that underpinned the country’s growth into the world’s second-biggest economy, is becoming older and less mobile, according to the Chinese government’s latest annual survey. A report published by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday showed that China had about 288 million migrant workers at the end of 2018, a rise of 0.6% from a year earlier.  That number includes 116 million workers who took local non-farming jobs without actually leaving their hometown. By China’s official classification, these workers still count as migrant.  But among the 173 million who actually migrated, there were 810,000 fewer workers leaving their home
China’s soaring market for drone-flying farmers
It’s been 10 years since he worked at a carmaker, and Zhu Beibei still remembers the acrid stench of rubber tires. Then 19, it was his first job out of technical school in Wuhan, central China. He was paid 900 yuan ($134) a month and there was a lot of overtime. He quit after six months. “I had to wake up at 2pm and work until at least 10am,” Zhu, now 29, told the South China Morning Post. “Every day I worked like a robot.” After he left, he bounced around various jobs, including selling farm produce, before a friend asked him if he had ever flown a drone. He had not, but after five days of training he became a certified drone pilot and joined a pesticide-spraying drone company. Today, Zhu
This photo shows what happens when iPhone sales drop
On an otherwise unremarkable Saturday in a central Chinese city, hundreds of workers at the world’s largest iPhone assembly plant lined up to quit their jobs. In the years since robust sales of the iPhone turned Apple into one of the biggest companies on the planet, the workers in the city of Zhengzhou had never seen anything quite like this: a slowdown in the demand for their labor. “In 2017, we were churning out iPhone 8s. I was thrilled that I could work 11 hours every day and didn’t take any leave on weekends,” said Haixia, a worker at the factory, which is owned by the contract manufacturer Foxconn. But the days of plentiful overtime, she lamented in an interview in late February, are o
Inkstone index: China’s migrant workers
287 million: The number of rural migrant workers in China in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That’s more than a third of China’s labor force. “Rural migrant worker” is the term used to refer to those who live and work in China’s cities, but are not registered under the nation’s official registration system as urban dwellers. As China embarked on economic reforms in 1978, the restrictions on population flow were relaxed. Migrant workers provided the cheap labor needed to propel the nation’s economic growth, contributing to at least 20% of China’s GDP between 1990 and 2010. But for all that, they are often seen as second-class citizens. Many are poorly paid and denied soc
Beijing’s migrants feel the squeeze
Beijing’s population has grown rapidly in recent years, as migrant workers from all around China come to seek jobs. Urbanization has led to economic growth for the city, but it has also brought in issues like traffic congestion and a housing shortage. To ease these pressures, the Chinese capital launched a massive campaign to drive out its impoverished communities. Mr. Wang, who asked us not to publish his full name, runs four hostels on the outskirts of Beijing for migrant workers. Every year, he organizes a dinner to celebrate the Lunar New Year, with migrant workers who can’t go home for the traditional family reunion. Check out our video, above, for more.