A Civilization On the Move
Over the three decades of China's influx of workers to the cities, trips home were rare. Read how China's new network of high-speed rail is helping many of the migrants, such as those who speak in China Blue, to visit home more readily and maintain village ties:
Keith Bradsher, "Speedy trains transform China," September 24, 2013.
Below, a policeman gives directions during the New Year's rush of 2009 in Fuyan Station.
Photo: Xinhua/Landov from WSJ.com.
The Downside of Social Change on Steroids
As many rapidly developing nations can attest, progress can worsen social fractures. Alienation, inequality and crime can bloom as readily as new skyscrapers. Read how sex trafficking has accompanied China's mass migrations in this Alden Library book, arriving soon:
Other Looks at Chinese Factories
A photographic essay by The New York Times on China's production behemoth:
Today Jeans, Tomorrow the Hybrid Sportscar?
Just as U.S. workers face competition from China, factory hands there are seeing more textile- and commodity related jobs being outsourced to lower-wage Asian climes such as Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Going by the film, does Lifeng invest at all in skill development of its employees, to help them adjust to inevitable economic change?
Chinese planners have identified motor vehicle exports as a major priority for the nation's growth, and migration up the value chain, as such advancement is called by economists. Below, a recent ad for Chinese Geely autos exported to India.
How do you think Lifeng jean factory workers might fare as China devotes more resources to producing higher-value goods such as cars?
The National Endowment for the Humanities and QCC: Bridging Cultures
This research guide is a collaborative effort of Alden Library and QCC professors who have received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant from the NEH's Bridging Cultures initiative. The NEH describes this effort as
a program to advance humanities teaching at community colleges nationwide through sustained faculty and curriculum development. Funded projects focus on the theme of Bridging Cultures, an agency-wide initiative that encourages exploration of the ways in which cultures from around the globe, as well as cultures within America's borders, have influenced American society. (www.neh.gov)
Read more about the NEH Bridging Cultures effort as it pertains to U.S. community colleges here.
QCC's grant will focus on the art, culture and literature of several East Asian and Southeast Asian societies. Bridging Cultures at QCC will bring a wealth of activities to campus, and will leave a legacy of research materials and curricula demonstrating the importance of these fervent societies to our lives. This guide is meant as a concise introduction to the hard-hitting film China Blue, and to the historic migration of Chinese villagers to manufacturing centers.
The QCC grant recipients are Professor Amy Beaudry, Professor Gaelan Benway and Professor Kenneth Wong.
See the related LibGuide Bridging Cultures: Discovering East Asia and Southeast Asia for more research paths into the lives of people throughout this fervent region.
Experience a Disturbing "Field of Dreams" for Millions
QCC's One Film Project this fall is based on an acclaimed investigation of working conditions in one Chinese factory, reflecting conditions in the thousands of large plants that have arisen in eastern China in the past 25 years. The producers term the influx of 130,000,000 people from China's countryside to the factory cities "the largest migration in human history." The millions of workers are the basis of China's "branding" as a low cost, fast turnaround manufacturer for global retailers.
The clandestinely filmed video allows workers of the Lifeng jeans factory to voice their frustrations with missed paychecks and other exploitation within a booming industry.
Preview the film, courtesy ITVS:
Thinking About Where Our Clothes Come From
PBS, which broadcast this acclaimed documentary, provides useful and timely context for the economic and social changes reflected in the lives of the Lifeng workers. Visit http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/chinablue/film.html.
How does another jeans factory, Suntex Jeans, portray itself to the world, especially to potential customers? Would you buy their clothing?
Select from a variety of discussions of global factories considered SWEATSHOPS from Alden Library's Global Issues in Context database.
How Does One U.S. Jeans Giant Address Working Conditions?
Levi Strauss & Co. traces its roots to the California goldfields of the 1850s. Founder Levi Strauss fashioned sturdy denim cloth into rugged trousers and sold them to the golddiggers - at a healthy markup in those flush times.
Read the sourcing policies of today's Levi Strauss & Co at http://www.levistrauss.com/about/public-policy.
Does Levi Strauss & Co. "walk its talk" regarding conditions in its contracted factories? For one view, read the synopsis that accompanies PBS's background to China Blue.
For other reports on Levi Strauss and its contract workers, do a search in our Alden Library database, Business Source Premier.