Working for Nothing in China
One more story from my visit to the “parents” home this past weekend. One of my girlfriend’s cousins from rural China, Ah Hang, decided that he would not finish high school, and instead left home at about 16 years old to work in a factory in the outskirts of Shenzhen (southern China). What did he get for being so brave to venture out at such a young age?
Lots of Work For Nothing (Like Many in China)
He told me that he works seven days a week, and only gets one evening off a week (all the rest of the time is unpaid overtime). And what does he get paid for working most of his waking hours in a factory in the outskirts of the wealthiest income per capita city in China? 300 RMB / Month. Less than US$40/Month. That might not even be enough to buy a round trip bus ticket home during Chinese New Year’s thanks to companies trying to gouge their poor factory worker customers during China’s busiest travel period.
Of course, he also gets housing (dormitory style, probably triple bunk-beds and 20 to a room or so) and meals free of charge, but that is an extremely low income and such housing is just flat out terrible. Cases like this may show that the income gap in China is growing, not shrinking. What do you think?
Update: Fortunately, my girlfriend’s cousin decided to join China’s army. I think this is a better road for him to walk than 300 RMB / month with no chance for advancement.