The Guardian is launching a one-week special report on China called China at the Crossroads:
A week-long Guardian series offering a unique portrait of modern China – its politics, economy, society, environment and international relations – through the eyes of migrant workers, business people, bloggers and officials. We follow them from the factories of Shenzhen to the deserts of Gansu, and explore their views on everything from modern marriage to patriotic pride. We learn about their hopes and fears, and hear from some of the country’s foremost commentators on issues ranging from economic reform to environmental protection
From the first report about migrant workers:
Until a week ago, Liu Xiao was part of the Pearl river delta’s army: one of the thousands of workers streaming along a Shenzhen road, gulping down breakfast, texting, lighting a final cigarette, teasing friends and swapping gossip – rushing rushing rushing to the factory for another shift making bras, computers and plastic toys for the world.
Today she waits patiently at the railway station across town. This region was the motor of China’s economic boom, but plummeting exports have forced it to slow and millions of those who kept it running have given up and gone home. Liu Xiao is one of the latest to return to the countryside: in her case to a village of just 200 people a 10-hour ride – and a world away – from Shenzhen.