New Working Class (03:14)
China's unprecedented growth is based on mass migration to cities. Some migrants started businesses like Tian Ko-Yu. Most are employed in low wage jobs in manufacturing and construction, but are better off than in the countryside.
Life as a Migrant Worker (04:19)
Li Xu Bin lives with his wife in cramped conditions in Beijing, but earns double his village income. Unregistered and without benefits, he hopes to become a permanent food service employee and receive health insurance.
Li struggled when he first moved to Beijing; he and his wife had to leave their infant daughter behind. Millions of children stay with grandparents until their migrant parents are financially stable. Li dreams of opening a restaurant.
"We Never Have a Day Off" (03:51)
Fruit vendors Mrs. Zhang and her husband moved to Beijing to finance their children's education. They are not registered and cannot afford health insurance. The Zhangs return home every few years but talk to their daughter daily.
Split Families (03:10)
An estimated 100 million migrant worker children grow up with grandparents. Mrs. Zhang hopes her children will attend university or join the army; both are in boarding school. The Zhangs work seven days a week. Migrant workers have few rights.
Second Generation (02:50)
Children of migrant workers growing up in cities will upgrade the Chinese economy and become a political force. As income gaps widen, they are demanding better wages and social security.
Credits: Inside China 6: China - The Great Migration (00:06)
Credits: Inside China 6: China - The Great Migration
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