New China rises on the backs of unpaid migrant workers – Mary-Anne Toy

From The Age:

Svchina Wideweb  470X320,0LI QUN spends 12 hours a day, seven days a week building the new China. She has not seen her three children, 13, 7 and 6, for more than a year.

She and her husband Lu Shigui left their village near the city of Nanchong in Sichuan province for Beijing after a former villager told them they could earn 2000 yuan a month ($A330) if they joined him in the city on a construction site.

With the average farmer earning just over 3000 yuan a year, it was an offer too good to refuse. A year later, their dreams of earning enough money to educate their children seem no closer.

They are owed almost a year’s wages each ” more than 40,000 yuan ” and may be unable to travel home during Spring Festival, China’s week-long holiday to mark the Lunar New Year, which officially began yesterday.

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