Beijing is working hard to style itself as a high-functioning modern metropolis. Yet all is not as it sometimes seems. Shiny new facades, enormous shopping centers and extensive highways can’t hide darker truths about small businesses being forced out and historic hutong neighborhoods being bricked up to make way for mega malls. There are hidden human costs too – those of a city powered by poorly paid “migrant workers” who labor in the construction, retail, service and other industries but sacrifice their rights to government services such as healthcare for their families and public education for their children.
For non-Chinese travelers in China, it is not immediately evident who these migrant workers are. Unlike in the West, where “migrants” are usually people from beyond a country’s borders, migrants in China are other Chinese citizens living in one city but with “registered households” in other, usually rural, parts of the country.
Read more at The Travel Word
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