China’s Peasant Migrant Workers: Tianya Posters Angry With Shanghainese On KDS

Anti-WDR (wai di ren) Image on KDS forum that generated some heated discussion on Tianya

Anti-WDR (wai di ren) Image on KDS forum

chinaSMACK has translated a discussion on a Tianya and KDS forums regarding Shanghainese’s xenophobic responses to “wai di ren” (外地人:to refer to migrants from within China), as opposed to “wai guo ren”(外國人:foreigners). The discussion started with a poster responding to the photo on a KDS forum above, and worried about how Shanghainese are discriminating against “wai di ren,” stating they are polluting Shanghai’s image and environment. The post continues with users’ responses with pride to the locality, being “Shanghainese”:

Shanghainese people are only ordinary people, they do not want to be supermen. Maybe Shanghai is an international big city, maybe it is Chinese people’s Shanghai, but Shanghai is firstly Shanghainese people’s Shanghai. Just because she has many titles/names, does not mean the whole country or even the whole world can share Shanghai’s wealth and resources. Shanghai must first satisfy Shanghainese people’s requirements before it can satisfy other places or other place’s people. This is what a place, a place’s government, and a place’s people should safeguard. However, so many “wai di ren” simply have not understood that they are guests, and not Shanghai’s masters.

The posts allude that the general discrimination against “wai di ren” refers to the stigma imposed on the influx of peasant migrant workers from China’s countryside that come to work in the cities. The article continues:

“Wai di” thugs are advancing towards the cities. I think peasants farming, workers going to work, everyone should be peaceful. Maybe there is a difference in living but it should not go as far as mutually attacking/slandering. However the brutal truth is that over 90% of vulgar crimes, such as robbing, stealing, killing people were contributed to by “wai di ren.” After 20 years, from not having to lock the door at night to having to carry 7 sets of keys when going out, I think already makes it clear what the problem is…

In addition to facing alienation in the cities, the Chinese government also seems to be attempting to keep the migrants in the countryside. China is currently hosting its Sixth National Peasant Olympics to put the focus back on farming and agriculture with competitions relating to farmwork, such as rice planting and harvesting rice races. As the article states, the games are there in part to keep the peasants happy about their work, as well as keeping in with the tradition of Mao Zedong thought. From the AFP:

Fresh from hosting the biggest ever Olympics, China also is putting on its largest “Peasant Olympics,” a quadrennial event held this year in Quanzhou city in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian.

This year’s games come as an ongoing exodus of millions of rural peasants into cities and industrial regions in search of work raises growing fears that it could hamper the nation’s ability to feed itself.

The games are meant to teach peasants about sport, partly to keep them content and on the farm, said Kang Wenbing, 18, who competed in the men’s grain collection race.

Peasant Olympics: harvesting race (Photo: Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images )

The chinaSMACK post also translates Chinese cyberspace lingo that has frequently appears to make reference to other topics, satire, or as a response to Internet censorship:

Dear wife, hurry and come see the earth’s people arguing with each other.
[he is pretending to be a Martian. It is a trend for Chinese netizens to make jokes about being from Mars when they see something they think is funny or something they do not understand.] KDS has created many nicknames for “wai di ren, including WDR, YDR, and VVDR. One of the newer nicknames is 西数人 (xī shù rén) which is a shorter version of 西部数据人 (xī bù shù jù rén), which means “Western Digital” person. The only reason why “Western Digital” [a company that makes hard drives] is used is just because the first letter in the two word is “W’ and “D.” KDS people can be very creative sometime.

See more of Chinese cyberspace lingo and satire that occurs from Internet censorship on CDT

See also China’s recent land reform policy and how it affects farmers.

October 30, 2008 11:44 PM
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