Date of this Version
2011 in The China Beat http://www.thechinabeat.org/
They are China’s most precious economic asset: migrant workers. Each year, millions upon millions untie themselves from the rhythms of rural life to chase down a future in the prestige cities and sudden boomtowns of the eastern and southern coasts. In doing so, they begin a dramatic journey from farmer to worker; one marked by a profound shift from cultivating land they own, to producing goods they don’t. But few will be allowed to transform completely. Oft belittled for their unsophisticated ways, to urbanites they are forever “waidiren” — outside people. Most will be marked by their speech the moment they open their mouths.