‘Fault Lines On The Face Of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great’ - Excerpt 49
“China’s migrants have built the factories and office blocks that support the country’s rise to economic supremacy. They have built roads, rail, docks and airports that allow it to import and transport the millions of tons of raw ingredients it needs and export the billions of dollars of finished goods it produces. And most of this has been done by sweat and muscle power rather than by hi-tech machinery. Spade and sinew are the most common sights on China’s construction projects, often without labor-saving hydraulic equipment.
China’s migrants also work in the kitchens of the cities, providing meals for socialites and office workers that they could not themselves afford. They clean the houses of the richer city elite. Migrants are available for any job beneath the social and economic standard of the city’s better-educated residents.
Life has always been hard for such people in China – so much so that their way of existence has entered the very language. The English word ‘coolie’ is taken from the Chinese words ‘ku li,’ meaning ‘bitter strength,’ a testament to how many centuries China’s poor have labored for China’s rich. Such language and such attitudes reinforce the ostracization of these city-builders to a point where they feel they live in one country while building another.
Their numbers continue to grow, and as they come to the clear realization that they will never share in the good life enjoyed by the millions of city dwellers, China’s migrant workers will form the 3rd Army of Instability.”
So, goodbye to the Olympics for another four years. It was about what I expected – a mix of glitzy show, Chinese powerhouse athlete success, and lies and dissimulation.
The last two weeks cost the Chinese people more than forty billion US dollars. Was it worth it, guys, when so many of your nation still struggle to attain even the most basic necessities of life?
Yeah, a pretty stunning medal tally. Soon as China got the games I knew they’d get the most medals. No two ways about it – all those years to round up promising young children and put them in the concentration camps of modern Chinese sport. For China’s athletes, life is a regime of the most arduous physical exercise, with no love, no care, no education. There is just one goal – to be the best. If you’re not the best you’re cast aside like trash. Doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved – fail, and you’re fucked. Look at Liu Xiang. Where was he in the closing ceremony? Where was the respect and honor for him?
I admire and respect China’s athletes. They are glorious. But the world should know that the athletes who performed so wonderfully over the course of the games are just a tiny layer on top of a huge mound of sacrificed bodies, the bodies of the tens and tens of thousands who did not make the grade -- who gave everything and got nothing.
That’s how it is in China, from the children to the aged. From the young girl who practiced to sing in the opening ceremony, tossed aside because she was not cute enough, to the 200 million migrant workers who face contempt and hardship every single day, the message China gives is clear -- Be perfect or fuck off.
China calls itself a socialist country. And the impulse behind socialism – the sense of equality – is indeed noble. But China is a more rapacious and brutal nation than any capitalist country on the planet. Greed and selfishness, that’s the core of life in China today. And so the ‘socialist’ claim is a monstrous crock of bullshit.
But what is to be expected from China when the very name of the nation is a lie?
China – ‘The People’s Republic of China’ – as if the people owned anything – as if they were in charge! China is run by the crooks and thieves of the party and the few millions of citizens who have managed to make some money trading on the misery of the poor.
Bring on the uprising of the third army, that’s what I say.
‘Fault Lines On The Face Of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great’ - Excerpt 50
“A major survey undertaken by China’s Ministry of Labor and Social Security, which covered 2.84 million migrant workers across 19,000 enterprises in 40 cities, found that 79.2% of workers listed their greatest concern as income and nearly 40% talked about lack of social insurance. Just over 25% said unpaid wages were a major concern. Of those who had not been paid on time, said the survey (without giving the precise number of unpaid workers) the average amount owed was 2,100 yuan (US$270).
Regardless of the lack of a precise number of unpaid workers, fully one in four migrant workers has not been paid, fears they will not be paid, or has reservations about the truth behind the company that they work for and the ability of the government to enforce the retrieval of the funds should they be withheld.
Article 36 of China’s 1995 Labor Law says “The State shall practice a working hour system wherein laborers shall work for no more than eight hours a day and no more than 44 hours a week on the average.” Such words indicate a labor utopia which is not to this day enjoyed by any migrant. A survey by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in June 2007 found that most migrant workers received no payment for overtime, and that two thirds of them had no opportunity to negotiate wages. It also found that more than 30% of migrant workers injured in industrial accidents received absolutely no compensation.”