Chinese migrant workers weep…

chinese migrant workers.jpg
…as they beg for the unpaid wages they worked for. Other painful photos over at Boxun, via CDT.

A national disgrace.

The Discussion: 49 Comments

Struth! This kinda crap is common here in this country, as I have discovered. I used to live in Hong Kong, and found meself with a job here in Shenzhen after a day trip (fell in love with a pretty lookin’ sheila here a see), and this “City of Sin”, as the locals in this neck of the woods like to say, is China’s “window to the world”. Bloody hell, you’d expect the window to be a little more open by now, yeah? I mean, these buggers here on the mainland need to open their window a little more widely, you know, to let some fresh air in, and to let some of that hot air of theirs out, before the place bloody explodes. For Christ’s bloody sake mate, I mean, I reckon just about every one in four workers here have had this experience of not gettin’ their wages paid on time. The company I work for, a bloody English language training centre I might add, owes me and me colleagues two months worth of dough. “Sorry, it’s normal in China,” says me boss. “Don’t worry, be happy,” he says again. “Just keep workin’, you’ll get paid.”

“Look mate, now don’t come the raw prawn with me” I says, “I know your labour laws here, and this ain’t right, what you’re doing,” I says. “So give me me fuckin’ money!”

Still waitin’…..

“Window to the world” – yeah, right.

December 22, 2005 @ 10:26 pm | Comment

Correction: I’m pretty sure these are tears of joy that they simply could not hold back upon hearing about the successful shenzhou launch.

December 22, 2005 @ 10:42 pm | Comment

any one care to propose something material, or do something to help them?

December 22, 2005 @ 10:49 pm | Comment

Struth! Kevin mate, you’re a bit of a bloody cynic aren’t ya?

Nah! On second thoughts, you’re probably right. The Shenzhou launch brought a few bloody tears to my eyes too.

December 22, 2005 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

Sun bin – is that fair dinkum? I mean ya name? Is that a fair dinkum name? Sounds a bit too airy-fairy new age spiritual like for a bloke, you know what I mean? Anyhow, your name aside, I reckon ya idea is a nice one and all, but there ain’t know way I can help out, and that’s cause I ain’t been paid meself for the last two bloody months. I meself could do with a bit of ya help though. Cheers mate!

December 22, 2005 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

you have to surrender yourself to the fate, since you had chosed one wrong boss. if you could not get your paid, don’t be sad, and don’t try to search for the help from govt, what you should do, is accepting the fate.
in mainland, this is the reality.
EMPLOYEE ACT is not written for the employee, but for the employer( of course, in mainland china, many laws are written for FOERIGNERS, not for chinese. mainland officials can sign the BILL OF RIGHT under other countries’ pressure. but, signing a law is a thing, and implement it is another thing)

December 22, 2005 @ 11:23 pm | Comment

since the founding of this regime, no employer had been put into jail( or no one had been foud guilty) for his/her unpaid-salary to his/her employee.
another ridiculous fact is, in one hand the CCP claims that he represents the interest of WORKERS and FAMERS; in another hand CCP didn’t allow any establishment of TRADE UNIONS without his governance.

December 22, 2005 @ 11:31 pm | Comment

Gee! Thanks for yar advice Jeffery mate. I mean, I guess I’m really pissed off at the moment, cause like, well, you know – I put in a real hard yakka for those blokes over at Cleverlearn, and the bloody bastards still haven’t paid me for the last two bloody months. I mean, how’s a guy expected to buy himself a drink if he ain’t been paid for so bloody long? Tell ya what, if anyone were to offer to shout me a schooner of the amber liquid now and I’d be at it like a goanna down a drainpipe!

I mean, I just don’t get it: you put in a real hard yakka for someone, you know, I mean, ya work flat out like a lizard drinking, and how do they show ya their gratitude? By not bloody paying ya for two months! Struth! I mean, I feel like a silly galah workin’ for these guys for nothin’, know what I mean? When I first started workin’ there I thought I had a bonza, you know, a real Bobby Dazzler. But na, seems me was wrong. The bloody job turned out to be a real fizzer.

I’ve spat the dummy a few times with me boss, but it don’t help in this country. Just makes em lose face they reckon. I should keep a calm heart I’m told. Yeah, right. As if?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a cry baby or nothin’, I mean, I was born and bred in bloody north west Queensland. They breed us blokes tough out there, so I ain’t no bloody pansy from some city. It’s just, you know, I’m so bloody pissed off at the moment that I have to have a whinge to someone, so I figure why not whinge here, to you blokes.

Me patience is runnin’ out with these pricks from Cleverlearn though, and if they don’t cough up with me dough soon I reckon I’m probably gonna do me na-na with em, crack a few skulls maybe, know what I mean?

December 22, 2005 @ 11:45 pm | Comment

any one care to propose something material, or do something to help them?

Sun Bin, the only solutions I can thnk of are:

(1) regime change for mainland China that brings with it rule of law, or

(2) a fundamental change in the Chinese cultural attitude that it’s perfectly okay (maybe even laudable) to cheat people you don’t know, or have power over

Sadly, unless one of these changes, I see little hope for China’s hard-working proletarians and their missing paychecks.

On the other hand, I see many more happy, wonderful, gift-filled christmas holidays for China’s bosses (and their mistresses).

December 23, 2005 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Joey in Shenzhen, as a fellow foreign teacher I would suggest the following:

Fifteen minutes before your most important class, call your boss and inform him that you are not teaching again at his school until you are paid for the last two months.

You may end up walking, but to be realistic, you probably stand at best a 50/50 chance of ever seeing that pay anyway.

Unfortunately, what you described is a common tactic of Chinese bosses. They will string workers along without pay for months (“just be patient”, they will smilingly assure you), then one day the school’s doors are shut. And the boss? He’s opening another school elsewhere, after a nice holiday with his mistress, covered by your paycheck.

Good luck, man!

December 23, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment

Struth! Stone the bloody crows Shanghai Slim me mate! Your words of wisdom are bloody depressing, though I reckon you’re right. Most of me mates reckon I’m bein’ a bit of a prawn cracker workin’ for this bloke from Cleverlearn without receivin’ any dough for two months, and it seems like your reckon so too.

I’m gonna try out your suggestion mate, see if it helps me strike some gold. If it don’t, I’ll try sleeping with his mrs.

December 23, 2005 @ 1:20 am | Comment

sh slim

i hope there are better solution.

1) regime change does not solve the problem. look at iraq. it is even worse for the poorest.

but enforcing rule of law on the capitalist (in these cases mainly the smaller bosses) helps.

perhaps more civilain and press support, which are forming but still too slow.

2) i do not think it is cultural. cheating happens everywhere in the world. it is the imbalance in law, and the knowledge and ability to resort to law and other legal means, as in point (1) above.

December 23, 2005 @ 1:49 am | Comment

Sunbinn mate, noticed you changed the spellin’ of ya name. Earlier is was Sun Bin. What’s the caper mate? Is sunbinn (or Sun Bin) yar fair dinkum name, or what? Sounds a bit airy fairy to me mate. Can’t ya think up a better name? Somethin’ more masculine maybe?

I reckon your right about the imbalance in the law here though. No rule of law here, so these bloody blokes here who are the bosses reckon they can get away with anything. They’d be thrown in the sin bin back home where I’m from.

December 23, 2005 @ 2:27 am | Comment

This will not change until the Communist Party either dies or commits suicide like it did in Russia.

Fuck you, Communist Party. Go fuck yourself up the ass with a porcupine, Communist Party.

December 23, 2005 @ 4:11 am | Comment

Sun Bin, you are only half right. It is NOT “cultural.”

It IS COMMUNIST! The problem is the Communist Party. The Communist Party was started by a pack of vicious criminals, and its ideology is all based on lies. 100 percent lies. It must die. China will not survive unless the Communist Party dies. There is no other way. The Communist Party must die.

December 23, 2005 @ 4:17 am | Comment

?As we all know, every day our life gets better under the correct leadership of the Communist Party and Mao Ze Dong thought!
Enjoy your happy life under the correct leadership of the Communist Party!”

AGGGHHHH! Communist Party, I repeat: GO FUCK YOURSELF WITH A RUSTY, JAGGED FLAGPOLE, COMMUNIST PARTY!

December 23, 2005 @ 4:26 am | Comment

‘It IS COMMUNIST! The problem is the Communist Party. The Communist Party was started by a pack of vicious criminals, and its ideology is all based on lies. 100 percent lies. It must die. China will not survive unless the Communist Party dies. There is no other way. The Communist Party must die.’

Don’t mince words Ivan, tell us what you really think!

December 23, 2005 @ 6:46 am | Comment

Actually, that was Jeffrey’s comment, I believe.

And Joey, are you for real?

Just wondering.

December 23, 2005 @ 10:21 am | Comment

communists actually fought for the poor. it was the collapse of communism in China and Russia that has led to this.

The situation in Russia today isn;t a lot better (even worse for some). That proved that regime change alone won’t solve the problem.

December 23, 2005 @ 11:49 am | Comment

it’s pictures like this that make one realize why
there was such a strong Mao cult and provided the basis for the Cultural Revolution and perhaps a future one as well.

other than internal sociopolitical change, i think foreign companies should take some responsibility and stop dealing with shady chinese bosses. in addition, western consumers should stop buying the chinese goods that have a direct effect on these migrant workers’ lives.

this is no different than apartheid, to be quite honest, except it’s against its own people.

December 23, 2005 @ 11:54 am | Comment

Communists fought for the poor? what a joke. The CCP in China has always taken its people for granted and treated them badly.

Don’t expect it to get better any time soon for China’s workers and farmers, as if their situation were to improve the first thing they would do is demand better wages and working conditions, and then China’s competitive advantage with the rest of the world would be gone. The CCP does want economic development for China, but it is in their interests to ensure that the majority of its farmers and factory workers stay poor.

December 23, 2005 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

Joey, are you madge? I’ve never heard any Aussie use as many Aussie-isms as you manage to cram into a sentence.

That aside, I had a similar experience to your teaching-wage problem – I was teaching English in Shanxi – Taiyuan, to be precise. The owner of the school had promised me my own apartment but when I arrived he stuck me on a couch of one of the other teachers, and the apartment was tiny and the teacher (american too) would wake up and make a crap-load of noise and not give me any privacy.

So I told him what Slim said. Basically I established myself as a good teacher over 2 or 3 days and then told him that if he didn’t come up with an apartment I was leaving. He protested for about 10 minutes, saying the housing market was really tight and he couldn’t find one, etc. but I was adamant. The next day he showed up with a set of keys, and I had an apartment.

Don’t let ’em screw you over.

December 23, 2005 @ 4:52 pm | Comment

Joey,
If you wanna fight with your former boss in Shenzhen(i am working in Shenzhen too), just contact me. i will be on your side.

just leave your email address here. i will contact you.

December 23, 2005 @ 6:12 pm | Comment

Jeffrey mate, this bloke from Cleverlearn ain’t me former boss, he’s me bloody current boss. Alright, knows what your thinking – you’re thinkin’ I’m a bloody silly galah, right? No worries mate, I intend to get me dough off this bloke, if it’s the last thing I do. Me appreciates your offer for help and all, but I reckon I can manage meself. As I said yesterday, I’m form north west Queensland, and they breed us blokes tough out that way. I ain’t no pansy from the city who needs a shoulder to cry on, struth.

And Laowai (what kinda of a name is that?) who the hell is madge? You tryin’ to say I’m a bloody fairy queen or somethin’?

December 23, 2005 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

“Laowai”, in chinese, it means “foreigner”.

December 23, 2005 @ 9:01 pm | Comment

Joey, who are you?

Sun Bin, dream on. Mao may have idealized the peasantry but asdk those starving farmers during the Great Leap Backwards (and anytime aferwards) what Mao did for them and how happy they are he was in power.

December 23, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

As I read through your comments Joey, I’m getting increasingly suspicious. The Mischief Meter just went into overdrive.

December 23, 2005 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

any one care to propose something material, or do something to help
them?

Awareness is the first step. There’s not much I can do except alert people, and link to petitions, as Lisa did yesterday, to protest. First people have to know there’s a situation; shining a spotlight on it is essential.

December 23, 2005 @ 9:21 pm | Comment

“Mischief Meter”? Struth! What have I bloody done wrong now? Sorry mate, I’ll keep to meself from now on. I ain’t one to stick me nose where it don’t belong.

December 23, 2005 @ 9:23 pm | Comment

richard: so what if there’s mischief going on?…He’s in the same city as MAJ, but it’s a big city. And if it is MAJ then he should be congratulated for writing in a completely new voice/genre/whatever. That’s a big step forward.
Of course no one who actually knows any Australians believes that he is Australian. Or rather, if he is Australian, he’s putting it on for comic effect, but he doesn’t seem to be doing it to wind anybody up or offend anybody or anything.

But, just out of interest, some things that are ringing warning bells for me are: too many colloquial Australianisms, “spit the dummy” – I’ve only ever heard that in Scotland before, though I guess it could have originated from OZ, and also the name of the school, “Cleverlearn” – not even in Shenzhen.

Anyway, tis the festive season and all that.

December 23, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

Common on, fair crack of the whip dishuiguanyin! Whatta mean there’s no Cleverlearn in bloody Shenzhen? Are you tryin’ to call me a liar or somethin’? Cleverlearn has been here since December 2004. Struth! You want me to give you their fuckin’ address too? The school is located in the Electronic Scientific and Technological Mansion on Hua Qiang Bei Road, in the bloody Futian disctrict. Happy now are ya, that you’ve called me a liar and all? I hope you’re happy!

And for your info, every fuckin’ Aussie says “spit the dummy”.

What’s MAJ, some sort of “colloquialism” as you reckon?

Geez, a guy has a whinge on a blog and gets a right old bashin’ for it. It’s Christmas too for Christ’s bloody sake!

December 23, 2005 @ 10:19 pm | Comment

richard,

if you care to read some history, in chian and in the rest of the world, you know what marxism is, and which class they represents.

the mis-use of power by stalin or ceaucescu, or mistake by mao, does not negate the marxism ideal for equality of the poor.

the failure of communism is economical and the lack of check and balance in its political system. it is not because it stand for the rich.

it is the capitalist republican that you loath that represent the rich. however, it is also them who defeated communist USSR that you loath.

December 23, 2005 @ 10:43 pm | Comment

sun bin,

When you talk about Russia, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You’ve never been there. I’ve lived there. All you’re doing is repeating one of the biggest lies of today’s CCP, that “Russia went into chaos” after Communism died.

Aside from the vasty expansion of civil liberties (which leave a lot to be desired, but it’s far better than before 1991), the Russian economy has actually improved considerably.

BEFORE the collapse of the USSR, the Russian economy was a disaster. It was a disaster because Communism f—ed it up. The DIFFERENCE between now and then, is that in Communist times, the Soviet government LIED about its economic statistics. The Soviet Communists lied and lied and lied, while their economy was far worse than most people suspected.

SOUND FAMILIAR?

December 23, 2005 @ 11:03 pm | Comment

Sun Bin,
i would like discuss with you on the topic of Marxism.

first, i do think marxism is only a idealism. we can call this MARXISM as a thing similar to religion. no experiment proved that this religion is appliable to our society. it’s only a dream or ideal of its founder. why should we take other’s dream so seriously?

second,from its founding to today, none has proved that this religion of marxism is a useful truth to us. we have witnessed so much promise from MARXISM advocates, they have been constantly saying that we human-being would be better off if we adopt COMMUNISM social system.
but what we only get is those tyrants like MAO,Stalin, King(North Korean’s president).. you said that those guys were mistakenly understanding the MARXISM, ok, then forget about it and please tell me who is the real MARXISM and can really represent MARXISM?

December 23, 2005 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

i admire one has ones’ own dreams and ideals. it’s not a bad thing and won’t make trouble to our human-being. but what will hurt our society is, these dreamers impose their dreams to others, and think that others should dance with them too.

December 23, 2005 @ 11:14 pm | Comment

Struth! I’m sick to death with all these airy fairy Marxist wankers – pansies, the lot of them. Too many foreigners in this city who rattle on about Marxism and postmodernism and socialism and communism and feminism and even post bloody feminism (whatever the hell that is!) Yeah, I’ve never met blokes who prefer to talk about this sort of stuff instead of the footy until I stepped foot out of north west Queensland, and these sort of fairy puffs seems to be everywhere in this bloody city especially. Whenever I’m in the pub here in Shekou I meet them – tell ya what too, some of them get as excited as a dog on heat soon as they start mouthin’ off about Marxism and all that sort of stuff. Imagine talkin’ about all that sort of stuff over a beer instead of the footy? Struth!

December 23, 2005 @ 11:55 pm | Comment

And you should see some of the hats these blokes wear to the pub! Makes you wonder, I tell ya.

December 24, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

Oh Christ, now I get it. “Joey” is the name for a baby kangaroo.

But Madge doesn’t have the imagination to pull that off, even if it is really lame.

December 24, 2005 @ 12:30 am | Comment

Sun Bin, if youy think the USSR fell because of rich Republicans…well, I can’t argue with you if you swallow the myth that Reagan brought down the Soviet Union. It had been rotting from the inside out for decades. Reagan made his contribution, but its collapse was a matter of time.

It’s quaint hearing someone extol the values of Marxism now, after its repeated failures and zero track record of success. Maybe Marxism’s heart is in the right place – unlike Nazism, it has nice intentions – but I see what happens wherever and whenever it’s implemented, and as a liberal it makes me utterly sick.

December 24, 2005 @ 12:36 am | Comment

Marxism as a theory of history is interesting and has some worthwhile things to say.

The application of it to actual governments hasn’t gone terribly well, for the most part.

Though how would you look at something like, Democratic Socialism in Sweden? Doesn’t that sort of system have some roots in Marxism?

I really don’t know, so that was a genuine question.

December 24, 2005 @ 1:16 am | Comment

Me appreciates your offer for help and all, but I reckon I can manage meself.

This was the point where parody crossed the line into the ridiculous.

“Joey”, in Shenzhen, are you teaching English or Strine? Or creative writing? ๐Ÿ™‚

December 24, 2005 @ 2:16 am | Comment

Yes sir, I am calling you a liar sir, or at least, I’m calling you someone who has far too much free time and an addiction to the word, “streuth”. But you know, no offence or anything mate.
Can you find cranberries in Shenzhen? Cos I can’t find any this year.

December 24, 2005 @ 6:28 am | Comment

Yea, I don’t think what Lenin or Mao did could be called Marxist… why call it that? Maybe a few of Marx’s ideas inspired them, but on the whole its a totally different ball game.

December 24, 2005 @ 10:34 am | Comment

Richard – agree on all counts. One of the USSR’s last leaders lamented that although it could send men into space, it couldn’t make a refigerator that worked properly (or was it washing machine?)

To cut a long story short, Russian Communism’s time was up. Decades of complacency had bred a demotivated work-force and self-seeking officials/politicians. It caused its own death.

December 24, 2005 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

ivan,

soviet communist, ccp…fine.

i was picking on your generalization of all communists

i guess chirs said it all.

‘It IS COMMUNIST! The problem is the Communist Party. The Communist Party was started by a pack of vicious criminals, and its ideology is all based on lies. 100 percent lies. It must die. China will not survive unless the Communist Party dies. There is no other way. The Communist Party must die.’

Don’t mince words Ivan, tell us what you really think!

December 25, 2005 @ 12:10 am | Comment

first,

i think we all agree that communism does not work, and it does more harm in practive, opposite to its ideal.

i also agree that the collapse of USSR is from within, whatever reagan or gorbachev did was just the last straw on the camel.

however, i do find it ridiculous that one would blame the polarization of wealth and suffering of the poor on communism.
the fault of CCP today, on the specific event of wealth polarization, is because it has turned the country into the most capitalistic of all. and you guys were blaming communists for a bad implementation of capitalism.

December 25, 2005 @ 12:17 am | Comment

It’s quaint hearing someone extol the values of Marxism now, after its repeated failures and zero track record of success. Maybe Marxism’s heart is in the right place – unlike Nazism, it has nice intentions – but I see what happens wherever and whenever it’s implemented, and as a liberal it makes me utterly sick.

Well, sadly, Marxism still flourishes in American academia, and finding a Marxist or a Marxian on a college campus in a blue state is like shooting fish in a barrel.

On another note, we should all strive to use “Struth” in our regular conversations more often. ๐Ÿ˜‰

December 25, 2005 @ 2:52 am | Comment

i do find it ridiculous that one would blame the polarization of wealth and suffering of the poor on communism.

Who did that?

December 25, 2005 @ 7:36 am | Comment

“and you guys were blaming communists for a bad implementation of capitalism.”
well, they do have control over the entire country, so who is there to blame? the misguided policies of the ch. capitalist party? oh, doesn’t exist. in a macro-sense, there’s simply nowhere else to lay the blame.
and, as they always have, this party is saying one thing and doing another. freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and cowboy capitalism is “development under the guidance of the C. Party.”
essentially, they just don’t care. if they put as much energy into monitoring coal mines as they do into monitoring the internet, wouldn’t a few lives be saved?

December 25, 2005 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

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