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Behind The Boom - China

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Uploaded on Oct 15, 2007

Feb 2007
China's economic boom is built on the backs of migrant workers, who flock to the cities in search of work. What are their lives like and are they getting their share of China's new prosperity?

Zou Heyen arrived in Shanghai less than a week ago. "I'm not used to life here yet. I feel like jelly after a day's work and I'm not used to the climate", she complains. She shares a cramped room with seven other girls and probably won't see her family, who live four days away, for months. But already, she has no regrets. "At home we didn't have enough to eat. I've experienced hardship so I can bear a lot". Xu Chuanruo is also grateful for the opportunities in Shanghai. He works 12 hours a days, 7 days a week, sweeping streets and rarely sees his wife and children. However, the job pays double what he earned breaking stones in his village and at least now he can support his children through college. "It's a great joy to work hard for my child", he states. "My son won't have to work in the fields". In the cramped worker dormitories, there's a sense of comradeship and shared endeavour. The lives of migrant workers may be difficult but it seems enough for them to know their children will enjoy a better future.

Produced by SBS/Dateline
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

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