Migrant workers in China

Migrant workers in China

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.
Billionaire owner of ‘American Factory’ defends his anti-union stance
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
Online protest highlights woes of evicted children in Shenzhen
‘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
‘American Factory’: What Chinese see when they watch China go to Ohio
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
More and more of China’s migrant workers are staying 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
China’s soaring market for drone-flying farmers
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
This photo shows what happens when iPhone sales drop
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
Inkstone index: China’s migrant workers
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.
Beijing’s migrants feel the squeeze
The workers bearing the human cost of China’s economic miracle
On a summer day, 52-year-old Wang Zhaogang paused to catch his breath after a few steps. He was wrapped up against the elements, since even a common cold could be enough to kill him, and his labored breath emitted a deep wheezing sound. He was so frail that his heartbeat was visible beneath skin stretched across his rib cage. Wang, from Hunan province in central China, had lost 33 pounds over the past year and now weighed only 88 pounds. Still, he’d traveled alone five times this year from his hometown in Sangzhi, one of the 10 poorest counties in China, to the southern megacity of Shenzhen to campaign for the city’s government to recognize and help workers like him. Filled with resentment,
The workers bearing the human cost of China’s economic miracle
A shanty town in the heart of Beijing
The district of Chaoyang in Beijing is a rich, bustling area in a rich, bustling city. Sitting right in the center of the Chinese capital, it’s home to many of Beijing’s embassies, as well as a majority of its foreign businesses – and the famous Sanlitun nightlife area. But it also houses something rather more humble: a shanty town of some 1,000 residents, right in the middle of it all. Life is getting hard for the poor residents of the town, most of whom are part of China’s massive workforce of migrant laborers. And it’s only going to get harder. Beijing has announced plans to limit its population growth – and that means kicking out the migrant workers. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said t
A shanty town in the heart of Beijing