Why China depends on migrant labour

Hi. This is Amelia from Newshour. Migrant labour is crucial to the Chinese economy, and bearing in mind the importance of the Chinese economy to the world, this is an issue that directly or indirectly affects most of us. We’ll be talking about it at 1230 GMT on Newshour on Saturday.

The Chinese are celebrating their New Year – after over a week of freak weather conditions unheard of for 50 years made the journey home a complete nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people. Migrant workers often travel home just once a year.  

We’ll be asking why migrant labour is so key to the Chinese economy and how it affects people’s personal lives and we’d like to involve your comments and questions. 

I’m aware that the BBC site is restricted by the Chinese authorities, but if you are in China and reading this, are you a migrant worker or are you related to one? What experiences can you share with us?

And if you’re not in China, do you have questions about the importance of migrant labour, and what it means for the global economy?

We’ve a panel of experts to talk to you about this and they’ll be happy to respond to your comments and questions.

5 Responses to “Why China depends on migrant labour”

  1. 1 Chernor Jalloh
    February 8, 2008 at 22:09

    Since 2000 up to this day migrant workers have been contrubiting to the Spanish economy.When the Spanish prime minister, Rodrigez Zapatero announced that he was going to give illegal immigrants both residential and working permits living in his country,the French,Germans and Itilians raised an alarm and critisized him for the decision he was undertaking.And even now,he is bringing more people,especially from Senegal with working contracts to work in their plantations.

    My question is:Without immigration in countries which have got aging populations,what will be the state of the economies?

  2. 2 Bristol
    February 9, 2008 at 01:13

    Hi im from the caribbean and migration is common in the Caribbean,North America,South America,and Europe,since China’s currency or dollar have such a low value who are the people that migrate to China today? would it worth it for people of the Caribbean go to china to work today? that i am not sure but i know China’s economy is growing rapidly and i believe some day that country will be the leading nation but im not sure if the value of the dollar will increase.

  3. February 9, 2008 at 05:20

    hi. im sona from india and i would like to share my views on why china depends on migrant labour..i think firstly its the china’s largest population in the world that contributes to all this . this is the major problem. and due to its ever expanding population it aint able to provide enough employment to all the people and hence the migrant labour tht moves from place to place is always eager to find some work to at least feed themselves and their children at cheaper rates . And so the employers also try and make mamximum profits from cheaper rates and therfore china is highly dependent on migrant labour.

  4. February 10, 2008 at 13:51

    I am Ofonik Zachary, Southern Sudanese Student in Cairo.I want to respond to the question ,of China being dependant on migrant labour.China is one of the most populated country in the world, and therefore requires enough land to accomodate the growing population, jobs for people to earn a living the list is endless, but then if people are concentrating in alittle portion of land,health hazards will crop in, unemployment and it’s evils ,like robberies and thieft, prostutions ,permissiveness ,name them ,all will result into emergencies which will need the government to attend to.
    What the goverment of China does, is to open new areas and built industries,Health Centres ,Schools as a kind of creating jobs available in those camps so that the unemployed labour force being idle in Towns will be attracted there for job opportunities and also constructed houses to be rented by the migrants at cheaper rates ,until the migrants are strong economically,that is when they will have capacities to buy their own land to built their structures,or even buy houses from the Government.
    Bearing in mind that ,China possesses one of the best and advancedtechnology in the world, they can creat swampy areas in to leaving lands ,despite the fact that there may shortages of dry land.That is how I may have a say on that question.Thanks
    Ofonik Zachary Abingmoi
    Cairo Egypt.

  5. 5 Jeff Minter
    February 10, 2008 at 17:27

    I find it ironic that citing China’s “largest population in the world” as the problem when the poster comes from India, soon to take over that moniker in 10-20 years’ time.

    The fact is, both China and India together make up 50% of the world, and with that comes power in numbers.

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