Living in the Shadows

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 10:06
Posted in category Uncategorized

While I typically dedicate space for more socially focused pieces at Crossroads, this piece deserves special attention as quite often it is very easy to forget that many of those who built the roads, the buildings, and sweep the road of commerce are not the ones benefiting from it.

Often living on the geographic edges of China’s large cities, these migrants face a number of obstacles, obstacles that are detailed through David Campell’s piece Living in the Shadows: China’s Internal Migrants.

It is a piece I highly suggest taking the 15 minutes to watch, and learn from as this is a part of the “real China” that many fail to see during their normal day on Nanjing road.

A few notes:

1) Temporary residence permits are available, something the clip does not mention, but the benefits from these permits are limited (i.e no housing fund or health care)
2) An average recycler on bike can make 1250 – 1500 RMB a month (pre-economic turmoil) or 750 – 1000RMB without a bike
3) The schools mentioned, and the 900RMB fees, number at about 200 K-6 schools and are run not by the city/ district governments but by privately investors. Many of these schools were initially established by members of the community, and curriculums were coordinated with those of other provinces.
4) Shanghai’s government has begun to invest a significant amount of resources into the migrant school education facilities (there are an estimated 350,000 migrant students in K-6 in Shanghai), and roughly 20% of the schools have now been brought into the fold with the remaining schools set for the next 18 months.

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3 Responses to “Living in the Shadows”

  1. kemc says:

    May 10th, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    David Campbell produced the piece, but it should be noted that Sharron Lovell of Shanghai is responsbile for the reporting and photography. It’s as much her piece as anyone’s.

  2. Rich says:

    May 11th, 2009 at 4:40 am


    fair enough – I have corrected my post above.


  3. sharron says:

    June 17th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Hi there,
    Sharron here, i appreciate your kind feedback and extra notes, the temporary residence permit was something i wanted to include but it was a real battle giving the right balance of contextual info and human stories, but you are right it is an important note…

    I do want to say though the 900 RMB fees were collected from a state school, they singled the migrant kids at this particular school out for additional fee’s… calling them temporary study fees… the parents are so nervous about keeping the kids places they didn’t argue. I’m sure this is not an isolated incident. For those who want to know more background Amnesty’s “The human cost of China’s economic miracle” gives a really deep insight into wider issues and complexities.

    And yes there are continuing changes, reforms and improvements for the migrant community…

    Thanks for watching and posting!