Archive for the ‘migration’ Category

China’s Annual New Year Migration “Biggest Ever” Due To Economy

January 22, 2009

The largest annual migration on earth is now in progress as China prepares for the Lunar or Asian New Year.

China has a migrant population of several million workers who mostly leave rural homes for industrial and manufacturing areas to work in places like  Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.

The migrant workers are among 188 million people heading home for the holidays.  To be in one’s family home at New Years makes for a “lucky” year, according to Chinese culture and belief.

This year the migration started weeks earlier than normal as China closes shop due to the troubled economy.  Many workers ill not return to work this year for the same reason: the economy is grinding downward.

Most experts say this is the largest migration ever in China because of the global economic downturn.  Railroads are overwhelmed by the number of travelers.

“Last year, I went back home five or six days before the holiday started. This year, I’m going back about 20 days earlier,” said migrant Huang Mingren as he waited for his train, three weeks ago.

Now many travelers are saying they have no jobs to return to.

“‘I’ll go home and stay for the first time in more than 20 years,” said Le Hong. “No jobs in city any more.”

China fears that social unrest and dissent will grow due to the economic troubles and several important anniversaries.  Thirty years ago, Chinese students started a pro-democracy uprising in Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Square in 1989.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia


China’s jobless migrants go home early for holiday
 Economic Slowdown Already Sees 600,000 Chinese Migrants Relocate
 China’s Slowing Growth, Unemployment Leads Toward Social Unrest
Shortage of trains strains China’s holiday rush, simmering unrest problem

A migrant worker nears the train station in Guangzhou, southern ... 
A migrant worker nears the train station in Guangzhou, southern China’s Guangdong province.  Some 188 million Chinese are expected to squeeze onto China’s train network to return home for the Chinese Lunar New Year.(AP Photo/William Foreman)

China’s Migrant Unemployment Sparks New Effort

December 21, 2008

China will step up efforts to boost employment for migrant workers as an economic slowdown forces companies to slash jobs, adding to risks of social unrest.

The government will “actively support” smaller companies and those in labor-intensive or service industries, creating more openings for farmers seeking jobs in cities, China’s State Council, or cabinet, said yesterday on its Web site.

Police stand guard, top,  as workers gather at the gate of Jianrong ... 
Police stand guard, top, as workers gather at the gate of Jianrong Suitcase Factory in Dongguan, Southern city in China, Friday, Dec.19, 2008. Workers at a suitcase factory in southern China are in a standoff with police over a wage dispute, one of a series of protests in southern China, where thousands of companies have gone bust this year. More than 30 police, some with riot helmets and shields, are guarding the front of the factory Friday in the southern city of Dongguan.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)


The council urged companies to refrain from cutting jobs as the global recession curbs demand for Chinese products, prompting overseas sales to contract for the first time in seven years, according to the statement.

Major projects in agriculture, transportation, energy and post-earthquake reconstruction should recruit more migrant workers who lost jobs, the council said. The government will also ensure that workers’ salaries are paid in full and on time.

More than 10 million migrant workers are estimated to have lost their jobs as of the end of November,  Caijing Magazine reported on its Web site on Dec. 17, citing a Labor Ministry official it didn’t identify.

China Faces Social Unrest As Up To 150 Million Migrants Go Home Without Work