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Factory Girls Extract 1

Migrant workers use a simple term for the move that defines their lives: chuqu, to go out. There was nothing to do at home, so I went out. This is how a migrant story begins. The city does not offer them an easy living. The pay for hard labor is low- often lower than the official minimum wage, which ranges between fifty and eighty dollars a month. Work hours frequently stretch beyond the legal limit of forty-nine hours per week. Get hurt, sick, or pregnant, and you're on your own. Local governments have little incentive to protect workers; their job is to keep the factory owners happy, which will bring in more investment and tax revenue. But suffering in silence is not how migrant workers see themselves. To come our from home and work in a factory is the hardest thing they have ever done. It is also an adventure. What keeps them in the city is not fear but pride; To return home early is to admit defeat. To go out and stay out -chuqu- is to change your fate.

Source The life of a migrant worker in 21st century China.
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