China keeps a Short Leash on both their Factories and the Migrant Workers that make them Hum

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 23rd, 2012

Week in Review

The American Left likes China.  The way government partners with business.  And has dominion over business.  In China business can only do what government allows them to do.  For government picks winners and losers.  What the Left yearns for in America.  Not unfettered free market capitalism.  They like their capitalism under the yoke of government.  Where they can have high positions in government.  Or be outside advisers to government.  And have their hand on that yoke.  But it’s just not business that is under the government’s yoke in China (see Plight of teen prompts education debate, protest in China by John Ruwitch posted 12/22/2012 on Reuters).

As the end of middle school approached this year, Zhan Haite, 15, faced two choices: attend vocational school in Shanghai in the fall or move to her ancestral home in distant Jiangxi province to take the high school entrance exam and study there.

Taking the test and going to senior high school in cosmopolitan Shanghai, where she had lived since she was four, was not an option.

Zhan is one of millions of children whose parents belong to China’s vast migrant workforce and are barred from taking senior high school or college entrance exams where they live by half-century-old policies on household registration, or hukou.

The hukou system has split China’s population in two for decades, affording different privileges and opportunities to urban and rural residents. It is a major challenge for China’s new economic policymakers under Premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang as they try to push urbanization as an engine of growth…

China’s 230 million migrant workers have been the oarsmen of the world’s second-biggest economy but have long been treated as second-class citizens with unequal access to education, health and other services tied to official residence status.

The education issue has been particularly divisive…

Zhan’s father, Zhan Quanxi, was detained for several days this month after publicly protesting for education rights in central Shanghai, but criminal charges were dropped.

Still, his online posts have been met with sharp criticism from Shanghai hukou holders, some of whom have claimed to be part of a “Shanghai Defence Alliance”.

The verbal mud slinging reflects a battle over turf in big cities where high school seats can help students get into top universities, said Ralph Litzinger, an anthropology professor at Duke University who studies Chinese migrant issues.

First of all if you ever wonder why the Chinese (and others) are outscoring American students on tests this is why.  They study hard to get into the good high schools for a chance of getting into the good universities.  Where they will take the hard degree programs to get the good jobs.  They’re not floating through life partying and fighting for the decriminalization of marijuana.  And they’re not taking worthless degrees in the humanities so they can keep partying in college.  No.  The Chinese take their education seriously.  Which is why they are some of the most sought after recruits of leading high-tech companies.  Including those in the United States.

In addition to that state-capitalism utopia the Left sees in China there is also crushing disparity.  Where those migrant workers are good enough to feed their factories with cheap labor to sustain that export economy.  But they’re not good enough to sit at the same table with the big-city upper-classes.  Something the left is ostensibly against.  Both the cheap labor and class-based society.  Yet they yearn for the state-capitalism they have in China.  Because of the power the ruling elite has.  Which is what the Left wants.  Unfettered power.  And they would take what China has any day of the week.  As long as they are in the upper class.  And once they have the power they don’t need to worry about cheap labor.  Or care about it.  As they won’t need organized labor to keep them in power.


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