Reporte de libro - factory girls: voices of the heart of china

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Benjamin Obeso Fernández!

December 2, 2010

Book Report Book: Chang, L. (2008) Factory Girls: Voices of the Heart of China. Picador. Pan ! ! Macmillan. 230p.


I have decided to make my book report on “Factory Girls” by Leslie T. Chang

because I believe that this book, together with the course, has helped me understand what is really happening in China far beyond Hong Kong,Shanghai, Xiʼan, Guilin, Yangshuo, and all of those touristic places that us westerners visit. Another reason why I decided to read the book is because of what I do in my job; I buy things from China and sell them back in Mexico, hence I have visited many factories and I deal with migrant girls, like the ones mentioned in the text, all the time. This is also one of the reasons why this class has been souseful to me, and why this book is a perfect complement to what Iʼve learnt in this course and what I am learning while working in my company. ! I believe that Leslie T. Chang didnʼt know exactly what she was going to write

when she decided to travel around south east China and meet migrant girls working at factories in the Dongguang area. I believe she wanted to know more about her past, andhow life for todayʼs migrants was like; her family was once a migrant family, during the Japanese invasion and later due to Maoʼs policies. At the end, she ended up finding out that migrants live a life far away from their relatives, where the pursuit of a dream is what rips them apart from their families, but the pay is far below their sacrifice. They live a lonely life following a dream that isalways about having money and nothing else; They live believing that “to die poor is a sin”. Sadly, this is their best alternative.


Benjamin Obeso Fernández!

December 2, 2010


Migration is analyzed more on a moral point of view in the book, whereas in class

we have analyzed the social and economic effects of this phenomenon in China. Knight and Song mention that migrationprovides one of the most important channels out of poverty for migrants and their family members who remain behind in the villages. Migration boosts the economy and improves the economical conditions of those who migrated and indirectly to those who stay home. Nonetheless, I have underlined economical conditions, because we are not sure if the effect that brought up cash and well paid jobs as a status ofsuccess, came along with happiness in both rural and urban life at the present time. ! Economic improvement sometime does not come along with happiness,

nonetheless iʼm not implying migrants should stay in their villages. If this would happen then that would trigger a slowdown in the countryʼs rapid positive economic trend. Chinaʼs growth, needs migration to keep its pace, and this has helpedmillions of people come out of poverty. In April 2010 the World Bank said that even with the economical turndown in the past few years, because of Chinaʼs and Indiaʼs performance the goal to reduce poverty in the world by 2015 is still achievable. ! This course seeks to understand the social effects of this phenomenon, then I

must start by describing the life that Chunming and Min lived whileinterviewed by Leslie in her book. First we need to understand that both of this girls, like most migrants, come from a family of farmers, where, after receiving the very basic education they can achieve in their villages, they travel as far as they can to the biggest city they can, to find a job. Since none of them has any experience, they all lie in their interviews about


Benjamin ObesoFernández!

December 2, 2010

their qualifications, and they all change their names, basically they change their identities. ! Finding a job in at the city is challenging for any non educated migrant, but

standing the conditions lived inside the factory, where you canʼt make eye contact with others, you have to sleep in a room where there is barely enough space to lie down in the floor,...
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