Saturday, 8 March 2008

China's Backbone

Here in China there's a large group of people that are only recently becoming recognised and represented in The People's Congress. They are the migrant worker population.

Sure there are lots more Herds as top thinker Mark Earls correctly espouses, but I think these people are the unsung heroes of China.
I have wanted to take photographs of them since last year but felt that my presence would be intrusive and unwelcome. Just another white boy indulging his pampered ass in pseudo blue collar sympathies but tonight I took the plunge and asked if I could take a picture. A few got up straight away and ran out of range but the rest were happy enough and now I'm inspired to go further afield and get stuck into the rural areas and rust belts of China to learn more. Here are the pictures and they are a scene that is typical across all major cities late into the night across China. Nervous to get a shot as quick as possible I failed to do the settings on the camera correctly and so they are not good. But I wont make that mistake again. Expect more of this stuff.

As I type this I can hear a circular saw buzzing away at 8.15 PM on a Saturday night while the Neo Georgian building opposite my window emerges piece by piece each and every unrelenting day.


  1. There was a great programme on here the other night about the millions of migrant workers in Shenzhen. I went there in '94 but I reckon the place must be at least 3 times as big now.

  2. Hi mate. The Beeb has been doing some great stuff on China life through the world service. The migrant workers are amazingly tolerant. It feels like their is no dissent and that they are a pliant bunch happy that accept their lot in life, but if you check out global voices blog or china digital times there are some fascinating cases of protest going on.

    Particularly when it comes to environmental threats from new factories.

    Here's one link you might find interesting.

    Lastly I was in Shenzen about 5 years ago and although I'm reluctant to say so I found it depressing. Grim in a way that even the UK was never during the three day week. It may well have improved of course. China moves fast. About three times faster than the UK if we use GDP growth as a metric.

  3. Thanks for the link. Have to agree with you about Shenzen being a depressing place. Sadly.

  4. Frith as (sort of) undercover it