Is China Creating a “Lost Generation?”

WorldCrunch has a piece on how the government’s response to the economic slowdown in China may be sowing the seeds of a long-term social problem:

According to estimates by Cheng Jiansan, the Director of the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences Research for the Pearl Delta Region Economy, there are more than 40 million migrant workers in this region. Nearly half of them come from the other parts of the Guangdong Province itself. Over the past two years, because of the closure of a large number of factories, many workers have been obliged to return home. It is estimated, for example, that there are more than a million such former workers in the region where Yang and Lin came from.

The closure of factories is caused not only just by rising labor and raw material costs, but also the appreciation of Chinese currency, the RMB. Also, local governments have recently instituted a “double transfer” policy – transferring both the workers and industry to other poorer areas of Guangdong.

Wen Chimu, the Secretary-General of the Dongguan Taiwan Business Association said that local authorities are deliberately driving out labor-intensive enterprises by raising the rents. . . .

According to a recent census, most youngsters who create trouble in the village have come back from the closed factories. Just two years ago, there was hardly a young soul in the village.

A local policeman said the youngsters most like to steal motorbikes, because they sell well. When they rob, very often it’s in broad daylight, and the perpertrators don’t even cover their faces. Some carry weapons: “They have a kind of locally made shotgun about 60-70 cm long. It can fire a hundred iron pellets”, the policeman says.

You can read the full story here.

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