Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hurrah For the Chinese Factory Worker!

Leslie T. Chang, the author of "Factory Girls” showed the world that the supposed horrors of sweatshops in China are not all what it's cracked up to be. When I read her book--one of *25 similar books I have read about modern China--I applauded her complete honest telling of the stories of these hard working factory people. 

I found out this myself both first and second hand; I had students who were some of these very same factory workers from the very city she based her book on, spending their very hard earned money to learn English.

I admire the Chinese, I admire their government for creating a modern Utopia that gives all its citizens the opportunity to thrive and prosper, despite its less than stellar human rights issues.

I challenge any person from any walk of life or experience to debase or refute Leslie's observations and those of mine. We know. We have seen it first hand—I actually taught English at two different factories to engineers and sales people. I walked in to their factory owned dormitories and sat with them on tiny stools crowded around a wooden desk in a room with six bunkbeds eating the most delicious homemade Chinese foods they had made on an open flame in a communal kitchen down the hall.

So the next time you read or hear some “horrid story” about the sufferings of the Chinese factory workers, understand that for them it was entirely a personal choice; nobody forced them, they chose to work in a factory for long hours so they could change their lives for the better. Not very different at all from what my grandparents did in America during the first 30 years of the 20th century.

Below is a complete list of books that I have read about modern China and highly recommend them if you wish to understand the underpinnings of the middle kingdom and its people.

After the nightmare : a survivor of the Cultural Revolution reports on China today /
by Liang, Heng, 1954-, Shapiro, Judith, 1953-
 Bad elements : Chinese rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing /
by Buruma, Ian.
 The bitter sea : coming of age in a China before Mao /
by Li, Charles N., 1940-
 China candid : the people on the People's Republic /
by Yeh, Sang., Barmé, Geremie., Lang, Miriam.
 China high : my fast times in the 010 : a Beijing memoir /
by ZZ, 1975-
 China live : people power and the television revolution /
by Chinoy, Mike.
 Chinese lessons : five classmates and the story of the new China /
by Pomfret, John. 1959-
 Colors of the mountain /
by Chen, Da, 1962-
 Come watch the sun go home /
by Chen, Chen, 1939-
 A comrade lost and found : a Beijing story /
by Wong, Jan.
 Dragon rising : an inside look at China today /
by Becker, Jasper.
 Gang of one : memoirs of a Red Guard /
by Shen, Fan, 1955-
 Inside the red mansion : on the trail of China's most wanted man /
by August, Oliver, 1971-
 Mao Tse Tung ssu jen i sheng hui i lu = The private life of chairman Mao /
by Li, Zhisui, 1919-
 Oracle bones : a journey between China's past and present /
by Hessler, Peter, 1969-
 The river at the center of the world : a journey up the Yangtze and back in Chinese time /
by Winchester, Simon.
 Sounds of the river : a memoir /
by Chen, Da, 1962-
 South of the clouds : exploring the hidden realms of China /
by Faison, Seth.
Red dust : a path through China /
by Ma, Jian, 1953-, Drew, Flora.

I have seen the world begin /
by Jensen, Carsten., Haveland, Barbara.

China road : a journey into the future of a rising power /
by Gifford, Rob.

The early arrival of dreams : a year in China /
by Mahoney, Rosemary.

Sparrows, bedbugs, and body shadows : a memoir /
by Lou, Sheldon, 1941-