Factories Shut, China Workers Are Suffering

The New York Times reports on the difficulties facing China’s workers at the economy slows:

For decades, the steamy Pearl River Delta area of southern Guangdong Province served as a primary engine for China’s astounding economic growth. But an export slowdown that began earlier this year and that has been magnified by the global financial crisis of recent months is contributing to the shutdown of tens of thousands of small and mid-size factories here and in other coastal regions, forcing laborers to scramble for other jobs or return home to the countryside.

Furthermore, the slowdown inhibits China’s ability to work with other nations in alleviating the worldwide crisis.

The Pearl River Delta, known as the world’s factory, powered an export industry that pushed China’s annual growth rate into the double digits and provided work for migrants from interior provinces with poor farmland. But circumstances have changed quickly. The slowdown in contributed to the closing of at least 67,000 factories across China in the first half of the year, according to government statistics. Labor disputes and protests over lost back wages have surged, igniting fear in local officials.

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