A migrant worker’s story of her travails is a huge hit in China

Migrants aren’t supposed to look like this

NATIVES of China’s capital find it all too easy to ignore the millions of people who have moved to the city from the countryside. The newcomers live on building sites, or in windowless rooms in the basements of apartment blocks. Many of them rent cramped accommodation in ramshackle “migrant villages” on the city’s edges. Beijing-born residents often treat the outsiders with scorn, blaming them for much of the city’s crime and its pockets of squalor. It is usually only when the “peasant workers” flock back to their home towns to celebrate the lunar new year that Beijingers grudgingly admit the migrants are essential—for a grim few weeks the city is bereft of delivery boys, street vendors and domestic helpers.

Recently, however, one such worker has caused a national stir with an autobiographical work circulated online. The 7,000-character essay, titled “I am Fan Yusu”, describes the hardships of Ms…Continue reading

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