Scattered Sand

Scattered Sand

The Story of China's Rural Migrants

Book - 2012
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Random House, Inc.
Each year, 200 million workers from China’s vast rural interior travel between cities and provinces in search of employment: the largest human migration in history. This indispensable army of labour accounts for half of China’s GDP, but is an unorganized workforce—‘scattered sand’, in Chinese parlance—and the most marginalized and impoverished group of workers in the country.

For two years, the award-winning journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai travelled across China, visiting labourers on Olympic construction sites, in the coal mines and brick kilns of the Yellow River region, and at the factories of the Pearl River Delta. She witnessed the outcome of the 2009 riots in the Muslim province of Xinjiang; saw towns in rubble more than a year after the colossal earthquake in Sichuan; and was reunited with long-lost relatives, estranged since her mother’s family fled for Taiwan during the Civil War. Scattered Sand is the result of her travels: a finely wrought portrait of those left behind by China’s dramatic social and economic advances.

Baker & Taylor
Argues that the two hundred million Chinese migrant workers represent the country's most marginalized and impoverished group and cites the brutal conditions they endure, from illness to documented labor militancy.

Norton Pub
Each year, 200 million workers from China’s vast rural interior travel between cities and provinces in search of employment: the largest human migration in history. This indispensable army of labour accounts for half of China’s GDP, but is an unorganized workforce—‘scattered sand’, in Chinese parlance—and the most marginalized and impoverished group of workers in the country.

For two years, the award-winning journalist Hsiao-Hung Pai travelled across China, visiting labourers on Olympic construction sites, in the coal mines and brick kilns of the Yellow River region, and at the factories of the Pearl River Delta. She witnessed the outcome of the 2009 riots in the Muslim province of Xinjiang; saw towns in rubble more than a year after the colossal earthquake in Sichuan; and was reunited with long-lost relatives, estranged since her mother’s family fled for Taiwan during the Civil War. Scattered Sand is the result of her travels: a finely wrought portrait of those left behind by China’s dramatic social and economic advances.
First-hand report on the largest migration inhuman history.

Book News
Scattered sand is the Chinese term for millions of disposable people. Anonymous outside their home villages, their flight to hard labor in cities all over the world is driven by poverty, in a society shaped to convert rural people into an expendable source of wealth. As migrant workers deeply in debt to the traffickers who transport them as cheap labor, their lives often become literally expendable. Often the only way out is to start trafficking others. The society that runs on their backs includes not only the New China but increasingly Europe and the US. Author Hsaio-Hung Pai has a journalist's dream of access: a trained writer and researcher who is bilingual and bicultural in English and Chinese, with connections in both China and the UK. She makes the most of it. In documenting lives and deaths of stunning deprivation and equally stunning dignity, she is helped considerably by her style, which is restrained and workmanlike. She has no axe to grind and will not stoop to pity; she is here to tell us what is happening in the fields and factories of the world we share. Though the book reads more like a news article than an adventure story, to get these facts the author has met (sometimes undercover) with migrants, their families, and human traffickers from Cornwall to the Ukraine to the China Sea. Where the author enters the story herself, it is to discover that every Chinese family, no matter how far they have come or how well they have "made it," has relatives who died crossing a border, in unfair working conditions, or are quietly starving in a rural area somewhere off the official radar. These lost relatives meet the author, and therefore the reader, with thoughtful reproach or determined optimism. When it breaks, they kneel weeping at our feet and beg us to help. In the end, the help is to pay attention. For US readers, her story echoes black slavery and Southern poverty, Native American displacement, 19th century immigrant struggles, and Mexican illegal immigration. But because in this version, players on all sides of the story come from the same race and nation, Hsaio-Hung Pai's book quietly shows us that the problem is in the family to which we all belong. An important book for a wide range of readers. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Documents the massive annual migration of 200 million unorganized Chinese workers who comprise half of China's GDP, arguing that they represent the country's most marginalized and impoverished group while citing the brutal conditions they endure, from illness and broken families to documented labor militancy. By the award-nominated author of Chinese Whispers.

Publisher: London ; Brooklyn, NY : Verso, 2012
ISBN: 9781844678860
1844678865
Branch Call Number: 951.061 P152s
Characteristics: xiii, 302 p. ; 22 cm

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