No Chinese Surprises

Very much enjoyed listening to the Mr Daisey and the Apple Factory episode on This American Life. Learned a lot, or maybe I didn’t. As Mr Daisey points out maybe it just confirmed something I chosen not to think about too much: Chinese workers, some of them underage, work very long hours in bad conditions for not much money. And things won’t change anytime soon.

This doesn’t make me feel happy, but I can’t help thinking this was what it was like here 150 years ago. Kids cleaning chimneys, miners scraping coal from soaking pits, girls working long hours in cotton factories. Families sleeping 10 to a room. The majority of the adult population denied the vote.

Was China supoposed to shift from Communist state to Western middle class in one, smooth leap? Missing out on the two massive wars, riots, Suffragettes, general strikes and wide-scale franchisement?

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