Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Categories:
China's Annual Migration - Lixin Fan
We started this segment with the sound of the world's largest annual human migration. It happens around Chinese New Year. Tens of millions of people who migrated to China's cities in search of work leave those cities and go back home to their families in the countryside. There are at least 150 million rural migrant workers in China. And as you can hear, a lot of them pass through the Guangzhou train station in southern China.
In two weeks, that annual migration will begin again. Amidst the sea of humanity, it's easy for individual stories to get lost. Lixin Fan is a Chinese-Canadian documentary film-maker who follows one family caught up in the move from the countryside to the city and back again in Last Train Home. The film has just been nominated for the Directors Guild of America prize. Lixin Fan was in New York City.
Last Train Home will be released on DVD on February 22nd.
While many Chinese migrate from the countryside to the cities, many others stay behind. We hear the story of one woman who lives in a small village called Hazelnut Valley or Da Jen Yu. It's about an hour from of Beijing. She's 58. All of her children have left home. Her son lives in Beijing and makes a living as a driver working for foreigners.
China's Annual Migration - Kam Wing Chan
As Lixin Fan said, many of China's rural migrants live and work in dismal conditions when they arrive in the cities. And Kam Wing Chan says the Chinese Government has an obligation to do something about that. Kam Wing Chan is a Professor of Geography at the University of Washington. He researches migration, labor market and urban social issues in China. We reached him in Seattle.