Posts tagged ‘Australian Labor Party’

08/05/2015

For returning migrant workers, a changed and desolate homeland|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

As the first wave of Chinese migrant workers return to live in their hometowns, they may find that life has changed dramatically from when they first left, a PhD student in Shanghai University revealed in his journal published in The Paper.

For returning migrant workers, a changed and desolate homeland

Rural areas tend to evoke empty villages where the working population has left, but the fact is that more and more middle-aged migrant workers are coming back home in recent years, said Wang Leiguang, a native of Luotian county of Hubei province who impressed readers with his “Journal of returning to hometown” during the Spring Festival.

Ever since China’s reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, waves of farmers left their land and worked in cities, where they could enjoy higher incomes but faced various disadvantages.

After working in cities for decades, they feel tired and no longer welcome in the city. Most of them have built new houses in their hometowns and have some savings. More importantly, they have to look after their grandchildren, as Wang elaborated in his article.

The year-on-year growth rate in the number of migrant workers has been declining since 2010, said a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics in late April. Since 2004, China has encountered a continuous labor shortage and many migrant workers aged above 50 have returned to their hometowns, as Wang has noticed in his hometown, Luotian.

However, returning home doesn’t mean a return to farming. Since most young laborers moved to the cities, the remote farmlands have become wastelands no one wants to reclaim. Meanwhile machines have replaced manual work in the remaining farms. Even so, many don’t really care about the harvest and some even give up their land.

City life has apparently estranged them from the farmland.

Meanwhile, the pace of urbanization in China during the past 25 years has seen the decline of many villages. As people have drifted away to urban areas, the countryside has become stripped of community and culture.

Unlike twenty years ago when villagers could enjoy various activities such as temple fairs, outdoor movies and opera performances, there are almost no cultural activities these days, as rural people left for cities to find better-paid jobs. When those migrant workers return, they find that villagers have less contact with each other, even between neighbors. Most of them stay at home watching TV.

Rural life is lonely and dull. Wang described the common sight of an old man or woman sitting in the sun at the gate every day, greeting acquaintances when they pass by, as if waiting for death to come.

Increasing social bonds may be a solution to fight the alienation in the countryside, Wang suggested. He found that villagers communicated more and felt happier during their efforts to build a road.

Zhou Jinming, an agricultural official with the Yulin government of Shaanxi province, suggested that the government should focus on supporting large villages by improving conditions, such as setting up libraries and clinics.

via For returning migrant workers, a changed and desolate homeland|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

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03/04/2015

Are_China_and_the_US_doomed_to_conflict?

A very interesting and optimistic talk from TED.com by Kevin Rudd, past PM of Australia – http://kevinrudd.com/biography

28/06/2013

Rudd: China Boom Over

The Diplomat: “Australia’s second-time Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has wasted no time hammering a nail in the coffin of the China boom after ending the political career of his predecessor. Making his first press statement Wednesday night after successfully challenging Julia Gillard for the Labor Party leadership, the Mandarin-speaking Rudd said Australians must diversify away from the Middle Kingdom.

“The global economy is still experiencing the slowest of recoveries. The China resources boom is over…and when China represents such a large slice of Australia’s own economy, our jobs, and the opportunities for raising our living standards, the time has come for us to adjust to the new challenges,” he said.

“New challenges in productivity. New challenges also in the diversification of our economy. New opportunities for what we do with processed foods and agriculture, in the services sector, and also in manufacturing…..Looking at our global economic circumstances therefore, we have tough decisions ahead on the future of our economy.”

China overtook Japan as Australia’s top trading partner in late 2007 due to China’s seemingly insatiable appetite for Australia’s energy and mineral resources, including iron ore, coal and gold. Two-way trade amounted to A$125 billion in 2012, with Australia becoming China’s sixth-largest source of imports.

However, Beijing’s measures to cool growth sparked the end of the resource boom, with commodity prices tumbling and Australia’s miners slashing jobs and shutting mines. While Gillard’s China visit in April 2013 sparked renewed interest in trade talks, prospects for a free trade agreement (FTA) with No. 2 trading partner Japan have appeared more likely in recent times, as previously noted in this blog.

Rudd attracted criticism during his previous stint as prime minister for bypassing Japan but visiting China in his first major trip, and ironically he was scheduled to visit China on Thursday afternoon to speak at a Beijing summit.”

via Rudd: China Boom Over | Pacific Money | The Diplomat.

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