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Beijing, China

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 22

Artist's Description

Taken in the last days of 2008. B/W film, as is.

I saw more than ten “peasant workers” outside a subway station. Their luggages were put on the ground.

They said they worked for months for an employer but the employer didn’t pay them, so they had no money to go back to their homes in countryside.

I gave them some phone numbers to seek legal aid. But I didn’t have anything to write with. An old man among them found a blunt pencil in his luggage and began to sharpen it with a knife. Then he wrote down the numbers carefully on the back of an used bus ticket.

Hope the issue could be easily settled.

Every year before the New Year there are a lot of disputes like that.

These peasant workers have little information about how things are done in the cities, for examples, finding jobs, hiring, contract. They have little training and no legal knowledge. The employers usually take this advantage and don’t sign any contract with them.

Bound by tradition of uniting with family during Spring Festival, most of peasant workers go back to their villages before New Year and come back to cities after the festival.

This year the economy is slower, and the cities can’t provide enough jobs for them. The local governments are now trying to find jobs for them in their counties to ease the pressure to cities. If they are lucky they can even get some training.

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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