Peasant Workers Have no Money to Go Home

Hundreds of Chinese peasant labours working at a building construction site in Dingyuan County of Anhui Province, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s hometown, blocked a main road linking to several cities on Sunday, January 31, 2015, over unpaid wages, causing serious traffic congestion in part of Anhui, reports.

Chinese peasants blocking roads protesting over unpaid wages

In the past decade or so, each year before the Chinese New Year festival season when peasant workers expected to get their payment and return to villages for a family reunion, the numerous clashes between the workers and the sub-subcontractors, or between the sub-supervisors and subcontractors, or between subcontractors and property developers, would stage due to wage issues. And tragedies of peasant workers or sub-subcontractors committed suicide could be heard from time to time. All these happened in a background where property developers become unbelievably rich over a very short time span to the point they don’t even know what to do with their money, which led some to decide to donate tens of millions of US dollars to the most wealthy universities in the US, such as the Harvard – a classic act of robbing the poor and the weak to feed the rich and the powerful.

Yet what Chinese government has done so far to address the problem? Premier Li Keqiang announced his State Council will make sure most Chinese workers can receive their full payment by 2020.

Too bad, the peasant workers in his home county lacked great patience as the premier exhibited and refused to wait for another five years but took to the streets four days before the New Year.

Peasant Workers’ Long March to Home

But not every unpaid worker in China is going to welcome the Chinese New Year by standing on standing on the road. Some prefer to walk along the road.
Peasant workers walking homeThe people in the photo are peasant labours who worked for a year on a tunnel construction site in the world’s renowned tourist destination Dali, Yunnan province, but apart from some allowances and living subsidies, they have received no pay.

They’ve made several attempts to get their yearly payment back yet only resulted in dozens of workmates being detained and bashed, Chinese state media reported by quoting a weibo message from a peasant worker.

Now they have no money to buy a train or coach ticket, but they still want to return home for the Chinese New Year festival, so they opt to walk home and carry the luggage on their shoulders and the kids in their arms.

However, they may need to adjust their expectations about having Chinese New Year’s dinner with their family, since it may take months for some of them to reach their home in Henan, Shanxi, or Fujian if they solely travel by foot.

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