In China, a new generation of young workers is moving from their traditional rural hometown villages to major metropolitan areas like Beijing in order to find new opportunities for success. When they do so, they often leave their families and friends behind in exchange for low-wage jobs and difficult living conditions.
There are a number of factors that make life hard for these new urban migrants. City culture in China is very different from rural culture, and some of these young workers feel they have little in common with people back in their home villages.
At the same time, they are not fully integrated into urban society either. The Chinese household registration system prohibits many rural migrants from becoming legal residents of the city they live in, and therefore prevents them from claiming social services that the city provides. This means that these new migrants are at a permanent disadvantage to those who were born in urban areas. While many in China recognize this as a problem, it may be years before the system changes.
"Sometimes, I wonder, how many years do I have to struggle in Beijing to progress? In Beijing, everything is expensive. I don't want to live in this tiny place which makes me depressed." - Yao "Ahong" Yongheng, Chinese Migrant.
1. What are some large Chinese cities?
2. What are "social services"?
3. What are some problems faced by young rural migrant workers in China?
1. From what you understand from this video, how does citizenship work in China? How is it different than in the U.S.?
2. Do cities or people in the U.S. discriminate against people from rural areas?
3. What difficulties might a young person from the U.S. encounter when moving to a big city? Are any of them similar to those of Chinese workers?