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I received the following as an email a few days ago and thought it was interesting enough to share with you here- “Just wanted to share with you a message I received from my soon-to-be brother-in-law. He wrote: On a completely unrelated and weird note, a few minutes ago I was breaking apart the box for the smart cover I recently bought for my iPad and discovered Chinese writing on the inner cardboard surface of the box. The writing was hidden between two layers that were glued together and I only found it because I was physically breaking apart the box. We immediately started to speculate about what it could possibly say and then I realized you may be able to read it. Anyway, if […]


Yesterday I shared the answers my former students gave to a short survey I sent them. Today we’re going to look more closely at the data, and try to get a better understanding of the lives these recent graduates are facing. As I am currently living in Nanjing, where salaries have been moving steadily upward for my friends graduating from one of China’s best universities, it was very interesting to see that the top salary among these 9 from Guangxi was only 2,500 RMB. The average was just 1,842 RMB, which is slightly below the national average for urban residents (1,998 RMB/month). Only 3 of the 9 students reported salaries above that average, two of those earned 2,000RMB/month. The second surprise for me was how […]


When you hear the words “migrant worker,” what kind of person comes to mind? Are they young or middle age? Are they poor? Are they educated? While “migrant worker” seems at first to describe a fairly uniform group of lowly occupations – factory and construction workers, aiyis, taxi drivers, etc. Their backgrounds are actually quite diverse, and the term covers a far larger group of people than we might expect. So large in fact that over 55% of those between 14-35 living in Shanghai are counted as “migrants.” Many of these people are ambitious college graduates entering a workplace with little need of higher education degrees. As a colleague from a Chinese charity recently told me, a large number of people working at factories like […]


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