Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

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Random House Publishing Group, Oct 7, 2008 - Social Science - 448 pages
22 Reviews
An eye-opening and previously untold story, Factory Girls is the first look into the everyday lives of the migrant factory population in China.


China has 130 million migrant workers—the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China’s Pearl River Delta.

As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life—a world where nearly everyone is under thirty; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theater, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monklike devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family’s migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation.

A book of global significance that provides new insight into China, Factory Girls demonstrates how the mass movement from rural villages to cities is remaking individual lives and transforming Chinese society, much as immigration to America’s shores remade our own country a century ago.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BookConcierge - LibraryThing

Audio book read by Susan Ericksen 3*** Chang, a Chinese-American former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, spent several years researching this report of modern-day China, and the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mom2acat - LibraryThing

This book tells the story of the everyday lives of the workers in China's factories, the majority of whom are young women 18-25, who have left their rural villages in hope of a better life. The author ... Read full review

Contents

PART ONE The City 1 Going Out
3
The City
17
To Die Poor Is a Sin
44
The Talent Market
72
Factory Girls
98
The Stale with No Name I20 7 Square and Round
171
EightMinute Date
206
AssemblyLine English 146
246
The Historian in My Family
303
The South China Mall
334
Love and Money
361
The Tomb of the Emperor
377
Perfect Health
388
SOURCES 409
408
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
417
Copyright

PART TWO The Village 10 The Village
269

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About the author (2008)

Leslie T. Chang lived in China for a decade as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. She is married to Peter Hessler, who also writes about China. She lives in Colorado.

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