The Event
Longzhen - Dongwu - Shuping - Zhen Yang - Yibing - Qian - Yang - Chenglong - Qiang - Liang - Guizhi

Mingong, the Chinese Migrant Peasant Worker.

More than 200 million mingong are roaming China. At least 25% don’t get paid by their employers. According to Zeng Peiyan, a member of China’s State Council, the equivalent of more than $13 billion has not yet been paid to mingong; in some cases debts are more than 10 years old. Sixty percent of mingong have to work more than 10 hours a day. And 97% have no medical benefits whatsoever. Shanghai urban professionals insist that technically, at least for now, no Chinese peasant can dream of having formal employment.

You can spot a mingong from miles away. Their work clothes, blue or brown, are shabby and covered in dust. Whatever their perceived shortcomings, they are the unknown, heroic protagonists of China’s spectacular economic miracle. In the big cities there are now more floating mingong than urban workers.

Their armies can be seen in countless construction sites in Shanghai, living in shelters, the more skilled among them earning 70 yuan a day for a 12-hour workday, with a 30-minute break, the new arrivals making only 30 yuan a day.

They must register with the big city government every two months and have practically no health and education rights.

There are more than 3 million in Shanghai alone, erecting at least one office tower a week. If all unregistered mingong are taken into account, Shanghai’s population may be exceeding 20 million by now.

Demolition des vieux lilongs, vieux quartiers shanghaiens.
Huai hai Lu/ Xiang Yang Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China
Reference photo : PH2702-10

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