Migrant workers in China profiled in International Brown Bag talk

Lisa Eikenburg

Dr. Guangyu Tan of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction will present the International Brown Bag Luncheon talk, “Migrant Workers and The Rising Urban Poverty in China,” on Monday, May 6, from noon until 12:50, in the Fenton Hall English Reading Room (Fenton 127).

The talk will first review the history and social context of rural-urban migration movement in China from the 1980s to the 21st century. It then will analyze the effects of education and job training on labor income for migrant workers in China, arguing that migration of low-skilled rural migrants to the cities has a direct impact on the rising urban poverty. It will explore the life conditions and characteristics of the urban poor and class discriminations against this disenfranchised group. Moreover, the presentation will discuss the emotional and economic toll that urban poverty takes on the migrant workers, their families, and Chinese society in the context of social stability and future economic sustainability. Finally, it will examine the policies and practices of remedial education and job (re)training that the Chinese government has put into place as a means to rectify the problems encountered by migrant workers living in poverty.

Dr. Tan will argue that understanding the extent to which migrants currently live under poverty is a crucial and often missing piece to advocating for and achieving equity and social justice in China. Since the economic reform launched in the late 1970s, China has made remarkable progress in poverty reduction. However, as of 2005, China still had the second largest number of consumption poor in the world after India (World Bank, 2009). The rising urban poverty or ‘new poverty’ (Hong, 2005) among rural migrant workers is largely understudied.

Drinks will be provided; those attending are welcome to bring a lunch or snack. The public is invited to attend.

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