Rural Chinese Feel Migration’s Strains – Maureen Fan

From The Washington Post

For years now, nearly half the rice, wheat and vegetable farmers in this village (Guihua) in Henan province have been unable to make a living off their land. They have turned instead to more profitable migrant work in large, faraway cities.

So last week — in a scene that will play out across the country as millions of Chinese return home for the holiday, which began yesterday — the modest concrete house that Chen Wenxiu, 56, shares with her husband and two grandchildren was bursting with eight more relatives. Most of them were back from jobs in carpentry, shoe factories, recycling or construction.

Chen cooked in a soot-covered kitchen while grandchildren played outside with a squirt gun. Women shooed chickens from the main room while the men ate first, sipping from glasses of grain alcohol and spitting bones onto the floor. One daughter was too busy running her business to come home.[Full Text]

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