What happened to the men who built China?

建中国者,而今安好?

Posted on 2010/10/26, 16:13, by Jeremy Goldkorn, under Migrant workers.

发表日期:2010年10月26日,16:13

发布者:Jeremy Goldkorn

作者:Malcolm Moore

译者:vivianalive

主题:农民工

Original URL:http://danwei.tv/2010/10/what-happened-to-the-men-who-built-china/

原始链接:http://danwei.tv/2010/10/what-happened-to-the-men-who-built-china/

This article is by Malcolm Moore, the Daily Telegraph‘s Shanghai Correspondent. You can follow him on twitter.

本文作者Malcolm Moore是每日邮报的一名上海通讯员.你可以follow他的twitter.

What happened to the men who built China

by Malcolm Moore

建中国者,而今安好

作者: Malcolm Moore

In the late 1980s and early 1990s tens of millions of Chinese farmers set out to make their fortune on the coast.

19世纪80年代末90年代初,几千万中国农民涌入沿海地区闯荡生活.

This first generation of migrant workers transformed China, building its skyscrapers, manning its factories and digging its mines.

第一代农民工挖矿,生产,建造摩天大厦,彻底改变了中国,

But where are they now, and did their dreams come true?

但而今他们安在,梦想是否已实现?

* * *

Cheng Guorong sits stiffly and silently on his bed, staring into space. When he lights himself a cigarette, his hands shake.

程国荣(音译)僵直地坐在床上,默不作声,目光呆滞.他给自己点烟,手抖了一下.

Seven months ago, the 34-year-old was living rough in the eastern port of Ningbo, eating food out of bins and scraping tobacco out of butts to roll into new cigarettes.

7个月前,34岁的他在宁波东港过着潦倒的生活,吃垃圾桶里的食物,用从烟蒂里取出的烟丝卷成新烟.

In March, however, he briefly became one of the most famous people in China after a candid photograph of him was posted on the internet, wandering through the city with his cheekbones framed by cigarette smoke.

3月份,他成了中国最有名的人之一.他的一张生活照被发在网上,照片中他青烟缭绕正游荡在街边.

His striking looks won him the nicknames “Brother Sharp” or “China’s Sexiest Tramp”. After his fame spread, local government officials tracked him down and rescued him.

他冷峻的外形为他赢得了”犀利哥”,”中国最帅的乞丐”的绰号.在照片广为流传后,当地政府找到并拯救了他.

He became such a sensation that several different families popped up claiming to be his relatives. His real family had to prove they knew him by revealing they were aware of a scar concealed underneath his matted hair.

他成了敏感人物,几个家庭出来认他.他真正的家人通过他头发下的一处伤疤证明彼此的关系.

Today, he is back in his hometown, living his life with mother and two sons in a village near Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province. His wife and father were killed in a car crash just two months before he became famous.

他现在回到了自己的老家,同母亲还有两个儿子一起住在江西彭阳湖边的一个镇上.他的妻子和父亲在他出名前两个月在一场车祸中丧生.

Meanwhile, the trauma of his years in Ningbo still haunts him, and he rarely speaks.

此外,这些年在宁波的悲惨遭遇依旧挥之不去.他几乎不说话.

“He shows his affection for us through his actions,” his 22-year-old cousin, Cheng Si, says. “For example, he always serves us the best cuts of meat at the dining table with his chopsticks,” she adds.

“他通过行动来表达对我们的感情,”他22岁的侄女程思(音译)说,”比方说,吃饭的时候,他总把最好的肉夹给我们.”

She insists that he is not mentally-disturbed, and that a psychiatrist has seen him and claims that his condition is reversible. Nevertheless, Cheng now measures out his days in cigarettes, and whatever happened to him as a migrant worker on the coast seems to have destroyed much of his spirit.

她坚称他不是神经错乱,另外前去看他的精神科医生也表示他的状况可以挽回.而他现在靠香烟度日,在沿海做农民工时发生的事情或多或少损伤了他的精神.

Cheng was 16 years-old when he first went out to work in 1992. Although he is only in his mid-30s, that makes him, in terms of timing, part of the first generation of workers to leave China’s countryside and seek their fortune on the coast.

1992年,程国荣16的时候第一次外出务工.虽然现在他才三十几岁,那段经历使他成为中国第一代离开农村前往沿海地区打拼的农民工.

The “first generation” of Chinese migrants are now aged anywhere from their mid-30s to their mid-60s, but share an ability to “chi ku” or eat bitterness that younger migrants are often said to lack. The second generation, according to the Chinese media, has grown up more fragile, with high expectations and an impatient urge to better themselves.

中国”第一代”农民工现在年龄在30到60岁之间,但都有着年轻农民工普遍缺少的”吃苦耐劳”的品质.根据中国媒体,第二代农民工较为脆弱,期望高,迫切渴望提升自己.

In terms of attitude, Cheng belongs squarely to the first generation. He seems strong and wiry, silent and self-contained. And when I interviewed him earlier this year, I suddenly realised that there must be many more like him, men who sweated and toiled to build modern China, but who had failed to find the dream they were seeking.

从观念上看,程国荣属于第一代农民工.他结实,瘦长,寡言,自制.年初在采访他的时候,我忽然想到一定还有很多很多像他这样的人,用血汗建设起新中国,最终却没能找到自己的梦想.

* * *

The first migrant workers, in the Communist era, emerged in the early 1980s after Deng Xiaoping’s government began to break up China’s centrally-planned system.

社会主义时期的第一代农民工涌现在19世纪80年代,邓小平领导的中国政府破除中央计划体制.

Instead of collective farming, each family was given a quota to fill. When officials then stopped the minimum grain allowance, many farmers left their wives to work the land and began to move to urban areas to look for ways to boost their income.

家庭承包制代替集中生产制.当政府停止发放最低谷物津贴,许多农民开始涌向城市寻找收入来源,而把田地留给妻子耕作.

The No.1 Document, issued in 1984 by the Communist party’s Central Committee turned the trickle into a flood, allowing farmers the right to work and live in cities.

共产党中央委员会于1984年签署的一号文件,赋予农民在城市工作生活的权利,引发了民工潮.

Despite not being able to claim any healthcare, pension or education in the cities, as many as 30,000 migrant workers flocked every day to Sichuan’s railway stations by the end of the 1980s, all boarding trains to a better life somewhere else.

尽管无法获得城市的医疗保障,救助金和教育,19世纪80年代末,每天有大约三万农民工涌入四川火车站,搭上驶向远方的美好生活列车.

By 1989 around 30 million farmers had left to become migrant workers. The number doubled by 1993 and then doubled again by the end of 2006 to 131.8 million.

截止1989年,大约三千万农民转变成农民工.这一数字在1993年翻倍,在2006年再一次翻倍,达一亿三千一百八十万.

Life in the country was grim. Infant mortality in some rural areas was six times higher than in China’s cities. Malnutrition was widespread and there was little hope of an education. According to the 1982 census, almost three-quarters of people in the countryside had not made it past primary school.

农村生活很严峻.一些农村地区的孕妇死亡率比中国城市的高六倍.营养不良普遍存在,教育机会稀缺.据1982年的调查统计,差不多四分之三的农村人口没能完成小学教育.

(Incidentally, the same census also revealed that a quarter of China’s government officials also had no high school education and only six per cent had a college degree).

(另外,该调查还显示四分之一的中国政府人员没有受过高中教育,且只有百分之六的人有大学学历.)

Unskilled, but hardworking, the migrants slotted into the thousands of construction sites and factories around south and east China and today migrants make up more than 70 per cent of China’s builders, 68 per cent of its factory workers and 80 per cent of its coal miners. It is migrants who have transformed the country, churning out cheap goods for the West and erecting the skyscrapers that wow foreigners.

没有技艺,但是吃苦耐劳,在中国东部和南部的建筑工地和工厂,到处都是农民工的身影.今天中国的建筑工人中有70%是农民工,工厂有68%,煤矿有80%.是农民工改变了这个国家,他们为西部的人民赚取微薄的财富,建造的摩天大厦令外国人赞叹不已.

For almost all of them the dream is to make enough money to build a house or start a business in their hometown and to send back enough money to support their parents.

他们几乎每个人的梦想都是赚点钱能足够在家乡造一栋房子或者做点小生意,寄回家的钱足够养活父母.

Across the Chinese countryside, it is easy to spot the ones who have been successful. Their large houses often stick out from the drab buildings surrounding them, secured with ornate gates and boasting an array of flat-screen televisions, computers and washing machines inside.

放眼中国农村,成功的例子比比皆是.他们的大房子兀立在四周破旧的建筑中,大门非常气派,屋内炫耀地摆放着纯屏电视,电脑,洗衣机.

“The first generation of migrants was hardworking, tough and responsible,” says Dr Liu Kaiming, the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Observation in Shenzhen. “They were the backbones of their families and they built all the new houses in rural areas. There was little economic option for them. The annual income you can have by farming land is around 10,000 yuan and your profit from that is only a few thousand. In cities you can turn at least 10,000 yuan of profit.”

“第一代农民工勤劳,坚强,有责任感,”深圳当代观察研究所的建立者刘开明(音译)教授说,”他们是家庭的顶梁柱,建造了农村地区的所有新房.他们的经济机会极其有限.如果种田,每年一万元的收入,只有几千块是纯收入.在城市,你可以拿到一万以上的纯收入.”

Chen Kaiqing, 52, and his family run the First Class Pavilion Noodle Shop in a back-alley housing compound in central Shanghai. “We came to Shanghai from Fujian in the 1990s after borrowing money from our family and friends to set up a dried mushroom stall,” he says. After eight years, the family switched to running a restaurant, and are keen to stay in Shanghai.

52岁的陈凯庆(音译)和他的家人在位于上海市中心的一个后巷住房里经营着一家高档面食馆.”九十年代我们向亲戚朋友借钱离开福建来上海做干蘑菇买卖,”他说.八年后,这家人转行开饭馆,想留在上海.

“We never had big ambitions. We wanted to make a small amount of money and we did. We think we have fulfilled our dream, and we are satisfied with life here,” he says. “A lot of our town folk also went out and some of them did very well, even managing to buy a house before the financial crisis struck,” he adds.

“我们也没什么大的梦想.想赚点钱,然后就赚到了.我们觉得梦想已经实现,很满足现在的生活,”他说,”很多村里人也出来了,有些混的真不错,还在金融危机来前买了房子,”他补充道.

Of course, not all returnees have been successful. Some have returned to find there were no customers left in their hometowns for their entrepreneurial businesses. “I know some who set up small businesses with their savings, but those businesses failed because everyone has now left the countryside for the cities. And their savings got eaten away,” says Dr Liu. “By and by their wives could not stand it any more and left them facing a very dim future.”

当然,不是每个返乡的人都获得成功.一些回来的人发现自己的创业项目没有销路.”我知道有人用积蓄创业,但却失败了,因为大家都在外出务工.然后这些钱就打了水漂,”刘博士说,”渐渐地他们妻子就受不了离开了他们,让他们自己去面对惨淡的未来.”

* * *

As they reach their late thirties, forties and fifties, the first generation of migrants is beginning to outlive its usefulness, unable to shoulder the same backbreaking labour that they once did.

等他们到快四十岁,五十岁的时候,第一代农民工的体力日渐衰退,再无法承担重活.

Instead of moving up in the world, many of them have found themselves moving in the opposite direction.

他们很多人没能跟上社会的发展,反而被抛在后边.

“More than half of them have gone back home as they got too worn out to continue,” says Dr Liu. “Some of those also needed to go home to look after the older people in their families. The majority of these returnees are now working for small workshops in their home counties, some have started their own businesses and a very small number have gone back to farming. Some have moved in the opposite direction from the coasts, moving westwards to pick cotton in Xinjiang or digging coal in the north.”

“超过一半的人最后都因年老体弱返乡了,”刘博士说,”有些是为了回家照顾老人.现在这些返乡的人中大部分在村里小作坊做工,做些小生意.只有极少数人重新去种田.有些人到更西部的新疆摘棉花,或者去北方挖矿.”

He added: “But in their old age, they have no social welfare, no savings and no medical insurance. And they do not know how to fight for their rights. Most of them are doing dirty and consuming work that the new generation of migrants would turn their noses up at.”

他补充道:”但是等他们老了,他们没有社会保障金,没有积蓄和医疗保险.也不知道如何保护自己的权益.他们大多在做些脏活,苦工,而这些活新一代农民工不屑去做.”

The migrants who remain on the coast have seen themselves move inexorably down the value chain. For years they were a source of cheap labour for Chinese companies, now they are a source of cheap labour for municipalities, who often pay them below the minimum wage to sweep the streets or collect rubbish.

留在沿海地区的农民工眼睁睁地看着自己沦落到社会最底层.他们曾是中国企业廉价劳动力的来源,现在成了城镇廉价劳工,拿着低于最低工资的薪水去扫大街,捡垃圾.

“The first generation migrants can still earn more in the cities than they would at home. After all, they do not have much education and they are not as forward and aggressive as the younger generation. Activists like me have approached them many times to help them fight for their rights, but they do not get engaged,” said Xiao Qinshan, a labour activist in Shenzhen.

“第一代农民工在老家还是可以赚的比在城市里多的.他们毕竟没有受过多少教育,也不如年轻一代思想开放,有活力.像我这样的活动家有试着去帮他们保护自己的权益,但他们不是太感兴趣.”萧秦山(音译)一名深圳的劳工活动家说.

“But the situation is that companies in Guangdong rarely hire anyone over 40 years old and foreign-invested companies rarely hire anyone over 35. So the first generation workers are doing menial jobs – they are cleaners or neighbourhood guards. And the cost of living is rising. In the old days, ten yuan would have lasted a while, but today you can buy barely anything with it. There are tens of millions of these people in China’s cities, but no one seems to care. No newspapers report about them, and they remain disadvantaged and invisible,” he says.

“但现实是广东的公司基本不会雇40岁以上的人.外资企业也极少招35岁以上的.所以第一代农民工只能做些杂活-清洁工或小区保安.同时生活成本在涨.以前十块钱很经用,现在却只能买一点点东西.中国城市有几千万人,但没人关心他们.报纸也不会报道他们,他们是被边缘化的弱势群体.”他说.

Thirty-nine year-old Chen Zhihua, originally from Anhui province, works in Shanghai as a bao’an, or guard, for an apartment block.

30岁的陈志华(音译)来自安徽省,他在上海的一个小区做保安.

“I left home in 1992 and worked on a building project in Shanghai for a while. Then I went to make shoe heels in a factory in Wenzhou. That was a good job – I made between 3,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan a month – but eventually I had a stomach illness and had to leave. Now I get 2,000 yuan a month with free accommodation and food. Considering my age and experience, this is a crappy job,” he says.

“我92年离家到上海一处建筑工地打了一段时间的工,然后去了温州的一个厂子做鞋跟.那份工作不错-我每月能赚3000到5000块-但最后我因为胃病,只好走了.现在我每月能拿2000快,包吃住.想想自己的年纪和经验,这份工作太差了,”他说.

“There are not many options for us,” says He Jian, a 39-year-old construction worker from Anhui who is finishing up the restoration of Shanghai’s Bund. “I would rather stay on the building site than work in a factory and farm work is just as physically-demanding as this,” he adds. “We rural folk always look older than our real age anyway.

“我们选择的余地很大,”39岁的安徽籍建筑工何健(音译)说,他正在完成上海码头的修复工作.”我宁愿留在建筑工地,也不要去工厂工作,农活和这个一样需要体力,”他补充说,”我们这些乡下人看起来都比实际年龄老的多.”

In the last six months, the aftermath of the financial crisis, which has seen coastal factories desperate for workers to fill their production lines, has created new openings for migrants. Meanwhile, many employers have come to realise that the first generation of workers is far tougher than the coddled generation that has replaced it. “Most of the workers on site are about my age. The young people can’t stand the hard work,” says He.

过去六个月,由于之前金融危机的影响,沿海地区的工厂迫切地想招人维持生产线,这给外来务工者创造了新的机会.与此同时,许多雇主渐渐发现,第一代工人要远比后来的娇生惯养的这一代能吃苦.”工地上大部分工人和我年龄相仿.年轻人经不起这样的重活,”他说.

* * *

Meanwhile, the scars that have been left on this generation of Chinese workers by poor safety and chronic overwork are only just beginning to emerge.

同时,缺乏安全保障,长期过劳对这一代中国工人的影响才渐渐暴露出来.

Experts believe the number of first generation migrants who have suffered injuries while working on the coast could run into the millions. The government is working on better universal healthcare specifically to look after these people, but so far there are barely any benefits available.

专家们相信受过工伤的第一代农民工总数可能达几百万.政府在努力推行更好的广泛的医疗保障系统,特别针对这些人群,但到目前来说作用甚微.

“They have a rural cooperative medical service, which is of a low standard in terms of diagnosis and treatment, and which provides only 20 per cent to 30 per cent reimbursement of their bills. To get this service, you have to pay ten to 20 yuan a year in your home town,” explains He Wenjiong, head of the Social Security research unit at Zhejiang university. “But in general you do not get treated for light illnesses and since you only get 30 per cent of your bills back, you still cannot afford to go to hospitals for serious problems.”

“他们有农村合作医疗服务,但这对诊断治疗来说是低标准,并且医疗返还只有20%到20%.为了得到该服务,你必须每年在家乡支付20圆,”何文炯(音译),浙江大学社会安全研究小组的负责人何文炯(音译)说,”但通常你不会因为小病上医院,而30%的返还对于大病的医疗开支来说也是杯水车薪.”

Some of the first generation of migrants have workplace injury insurance, paid for by their employers, and companies generally cover the full cost of treatments that are incurred on site. But if the injuries only emerge later, such as lung disease or chronic musculoskeletal pain, it remains near to impossible to get treatment, or to get employers to admit responsibility after the event.

一些第一代农民工有雇主替他们购买工伤保险,公司一般会为他们的工伤承担全部治疗费用.但如果创伤在事后出现,比如肺病,慢性骨骼肌系统痛,这几乎没法得到医治,或让雇主主动承担责任.

“Quite a large number of first generation workers are having difficulties with their livelihood because of injury and sickness,” says Mr Xiao. “Out of the 900,000 workplace injuries identified in China each year, the majority are sustained by migrants. We did a survey in Hunan and Sichuan and we found at least three to four returnees in each village with injuries. Also, there are a lot of people with mental problems, such as depression, but no one is helping them either.”

“相当一部分第一代工人因受伤,疾病无法正常生活,”萧先生说,”中国每年认定的90万工伤案例中,大部分受害者是农民工.我们在湖南和四川做过调查后发现,各村大约4个返乡人中有3个是受过伤的.还有许多人有精神问题,比如抑郁症,但是没人去帮他们.”

Zhang Qian, 42, from Shandong has moved up the coast from Shenzhen to Shanghai because of worries about his health. He now works as a security guard.

42岁的张骞(音译)由于担心自己的健康问题,从深圳来到上海.他现在在当保安.

“I left the factory five or six years ago. It paid well, but it was too demanding, both mentally and physically. Long hours on the line and repetitious hand movements left me constantly worried about my health and I spent quite a lot of time not feeling quite right,” he says.

“我五六年前离开工厂.工资很高,但是压力太大,不管是身体上,还是精神上.长时间在生产线上重复着几个动作让我不住地担心自己的身体健康.我一直觉得很不舒服,”他说.

* * *

Cheng Guorong has still not told his family exactly what horrors he suffered in Ningbo, but his relatives have pieced together some of the missing years.

程国荣还是没有告诉家人他在宁波到底遇到了什么可怕的事情,但他的亲戚拼凑起他失踪这些年的零零碎碎.

“Our family has always suffered misfortune,” his cousin says. “For many years we just thought he was dead.”

“我们家一直很不幸,”他侄女说,”这么多年我们都以为他已经死了.”

Like many rural children at the time, Cheng dropped out of school in order to help his parents and his brother and sister on the land, chopping firewood and herding water buffalo. “He was a kind and considerate boy,” his uncle says. “He was never aggressive at all, but very easy going. He had plenty of friends and he liked to play football and ride his bike.”

和当时的许多孩子一样,程国荣辍学帮父母和兄弟姐妹种地,砍柴,放牛.”他是个友善细心的男孩,”他叔叔说,”他从不顶撞人,很随和.他有很多朋友,喜欢踢足球,骑车.”

When his production brigade in Boyang was dissolved, Cheng decided to go to Wenzhou to try his luck. He won jobs on construction sites and then moved to do similar work in Ningbo.

当他在鄱阳(音译)的生产队解散以后,他决定去温州试试运气.他在建筑工地找到份工作,后来又去了宁波做相似的活.

Initially, everything went according to plan. He married a woman from a nearby village in 1999 who bore him two sons in 2000 and 2001. He returned home each Chinese New Year for the holidays, sent back money and even bought himself a mobile phone, a rare luxury in those days – his family still had to walk to the grocer’s in order to receive his calls.

开始一切都很顺利.99年他取了邻村的一个姑娘,他们分别在两千年和零一年生了2个儿子.他每年春节都回家过节,寄钱回来,还给自己买了部手机,这在当时相当奢侈-他家人为了接他电话还得跑到小卖店去.

But then things went wrong. In 2003, Cheng was robbed of his savings and, worried about his family’s reaction if he stopped sending back money, he droppeWhat happened to the men who built China?

建中国者,而今安好?

Posted on 2010/10/26, 16:13, by Jeremy Goldkorn, under Migrant workers.

发表日期:2010年10月26日,16:13

发布者:Jeremy Goldkorn

作者:Malcolm Moore

译者:vivianalive

主题:农民工

Original URL:http://danwei.tv/2010/10/what-happened-to-the-men-who-built-china/

原始链接:http://danwei.tv/2010/10/what-happened-to-the-men-who-built-china/

This article is by Malcolm Moore, the Daily Telegraph‘s Shanghai Correspondent. You can follow him on twitter.

本文作者Malcolm Moore是每日邮报的一名上海通讯员.你可以follow他的twitter.

What happened to the men who built China

by Malcolm Moore

建中国者,而今安好

作者: Malcolm Moore

 

In the late 1980s and early 1990s tens of millions of Chinese farmers set out to make their fortune on the coast.

19世纪80年代末90年代初,几千万中国农民涌入沿海地区闯荡生活.

This first generation of migrant workers transformed China, building its skyscrapers, manning its factories and digging its mines.

第一代农民工挖矿,生产,建造摩天大厦,彻底改变了中国,

But where are they now, and did their dreams come true?

但而今他们安在,梦想是否已实现?

* * *

Cheng Guorong sits stiffly and silently on his bed, staring into space. When he lights himself a cigarette, his hands shake.

程国荣(音译)僵直地坐在床上,默不作声,目光呆滞.他给自己点烟,手抖了一下.

Seven months ago, the 34-year-old was living rough in the eastern port of Ningbo, eating food out of bins and scraping tobacco out of butts to roll into new cigarettes.

7个月前,34岁的他在宁波东港过着潦倒的生活,吃垃圾桶里的食物,用从烟蒂里取出的烟丝卷成新烟.

In March, however, he briefly became one of the most famous people in China after a candid photograph of him was posted on the internet, wandering through the city with his cheekbones framed by cigarette smoke.

3月份,他成了中国最有名的人之一.他的一张生活照被发在网上,照片中他青烟缭绕正游荡在街边.

His striking looks won him the nicknames “Brother Sharp” or “China’s Sexiest Tramp”. After his fame spread, local government officials tracked him down and rescued him.

他冷峻的外形为他赢得了”犀利哥”,”中国最帅的乞丐”的绰号.在照片广为流传后,当地政府找到并拯救了他.

He became such a sensation that several different families popped up claiming to be his relatives. His real family had to prove they knew him by revealing they were aware of a scar concealed underneath his matted hair.

他成了敏感人物,几个家庭出来认他.他真正的家人通过他头发下的一处伤疤证明彼此的关系.

Today, he is back in his hometown, living his life with mother and two sons in a village near Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province. His wife and father were killed in a car crash just two months before he became famous.

他现在回到了自己的老家,同母亲还有两个儿子一起住在江西彭阳湖边的一个镇上.他的妻子和父亲在他出名前两个月在一场车祸中丧生.

Meanwhile, the trauma of his years in Ningbo still haunts him, and he rarely speaks.

此外,这些年在宁波的悲惨遭遇依旧挥之不去.他几乎不说话.

“He shows his affection for us through his actions,” his 22-year-old cousin, Cheng Si, says. “For example, he always serves us the best cuts of meat at the dining table with his chopsticks,” she adds.

“他通过行动来表达对我们的感情,”他22岁的侄女程思(音译)说,”比方说,吃饭的时候,他总把最好的肉夹给我们.”

She insists that he is not mentally-disturbed, and that a psychiatrist has seen him and claims that his condition is reversible. Nevertheless, Cheng now measures out his days in cigarettes, and whatever happened to him as a migrant worker on the coast seems to have destroyed much of his spirit.

她坚称他不是神经错乱,另外前去看他的精神科医生也表示他的状况可以挽回.而他现在靠香烟度日,在沿海做农民工时发生的事情或多或少损伤了他的精神.

Cheng was 16 years-old when he first went out to work in 1992. Although he is only in his mid-30s, that makes him, in terms of timing, part of the first generation of workers to leave China’s countryside and seek their fortune on the coast.

1992年,程国荣16的时候第一次外出务工.虽然现在他才三十几岁,那段经历使他成为中国第一代离开农村前往沿海地区打拼的农民工.

The “first generation” of Chinese migrants are now aged anywhere from their mid-30s to their mid-60s, but share an ability to “chi ku” or eat bitterness that younger migrants are often said to lack. The second generation, according to the Chinese media, has grown up more fragile, with high expectations and an impatient urge to better themselves.

中国”第一代”农民工现在年龄在30到60岁之间,但都有着年轻农民工普遍缺少的”吃苦耐劳”的品质.根据中国媒体,第二代农民工较为脆弱,期望高,迫切渴望提升自己.

In terms of attitude, Cheng belongs squarely to the first generation. He seems strong and wiry, silent and self-contained. And when I interviewed him earlier this year, I suddenly realised that there must be many more like him, men who sweated and toiled to build modern China, but who had failed to find the dream they were seeking.

从观念上看,程国荣属于第一代农民工.他结实,瘦长,寡言,自制.年初在采访他的时候,我忽然想到一定还有很多很多像他这样的人,用血汗建设起新中国,最终却没能找到自己的梦想.

* * *

The first migrant workers, in the Communist era, emerged in the early 1980s after Deng Xiaoping’s government began to break up China’s centrally-planned system.

社会主义时期的第一代农民工涌现在19世纪80年代,邓小平领导的中国政府破除中央计划体制.

Instead of collective farming, each family was given a quota to fill. When officials then stopped the minimum grain allowance, many farmers left their wives to work the land and began to move to urban areas to look for ways to boost their income.

家庭承包制代替集中生产制.当政府停止发放最低谷物津贴,许多农民开始涌向城市寻找收入来源,而把田地留给妻子耕作.

The No.1 Document, issued in 1984 by the Communist party’s Central Committee turned the trickle into a flood, allowing farmers the right to work and live in cities.

共产党中央委员会于1984年签署的一号文件,赋予农民在城市工作生活的权利,引发了民工潮.

Despite not being able to claim any healthcare, pension or education in the cities, as many as 30,000 migrant workers flocked every day to Sichuan’s railway stations by the end of the 1980s, all boarding trains to a better life somewhere else.

尽管无法获得城市的医疗保障,救助金和教育,19世纪80年代末,每天有大约三万农民工涌入四川火车站,搭上驶向远方的美好生活列车.

By 1989 around 30 million farmers had left to become migrant workers. The number doubled by 1993 and then doubled again by the end of 2006 to 131.8 million.

截止1989年,大约三千万农民转变成农民工.这一数字在1993年翻倍,在2006年再一次翻倍,达一亿三千一百八十万.

Life in the country was grim. Infant mortality in some rural areas was six times higher than in China’s cities. Malnutrition was widespread and there was little hope of an education. According to the 1982 census, almost three-quarters of people in the countryside had not made it past primary school.

农村生活很严峻.一些农村地区的孕妇死亡率比中国城市的高六倍.营养不良普遍存在,教育机会稀缺.据1982年的调查统计,差不多四分之三的农村人口没能完成小学教育.

(Incidentally, the same census also revealed that a quarter of China’s government officials also had no high school education and only six per cent had a college degree).

(另外,该调查还显示四分之一的中国政府人员没有受过高中教育,且只有百分之六的人有大学学历.)

Unskilled, but hardworking, the migrants slotted into the thousands of construction sites and factories around south and east China and today migrants make up more than 70 per cent of China’s builders, 68 per cent of its factory workers and 80 per cent of its coal miners. It is migrants who have transformed the country, churning out cheap goods for the West and erecting the skyscrapers that wow foreigners.

没有技艺,但是吃苦耐劳,在中国东部和南部的建筑工地和工厂,到处都是农民工的身影.今天中国的建筑工人中有70%是农民工,工厂有68%,煤矿有80%.是农民工改变了这个国家,他们为西部的人民赚取微薄的财富,建造的摩天大厦令外国人赞叹不已.

For almost all of them the dream is to make enough money to build a house or start a business in their hometown and to send back enough money to support their parents.

他们几乎每个人的梦想都是赚点钱能足够在家乡造一栋房子或者做点小生意,寄回家的钱足够养活父母.

Across the Chinese countryside, it is easy to spot the ones who have been successful. Their large houses often stick out from the drab buildings surrounding them, secured with ornate gates and boasting an array of flat-screen televisions, computers and washing machines inside.

放眼中国农村,成功的例子比比皆是.他们的大房子兀立在四周破旧的建筑中,大门非常气派,屋内炫耀地摆放着纯屏电视,电脑,洗衣机.

“The first generation of migrants was hardworking, tough and responsible,” says Dr Liu Kaiming, the founder of the Institute of Contemporary Observation in Shenzhen. “They were the backbones of their families and they built all the new houses in rural areas. There was little economic option for them. The annual income you can have by farming land is around 10,000 yuan and your profit from that is only a few thousand. In cities you can turn at least 10,000 yuan of profit.”

“第一代农民工勤劳,坚强,有责任感,”深圳当代观察研究所的建立者刘开明(音译)教授说,”他们是家庭的顶梁柱,建造了农村地区的所有新房.他们的经济机会极其有限.如果种田,每年一万元的收入,只有几千块是纯收入.在城市,你可以拿到一万以上的纯收入.”

Chen Kaiqing, 52, and his family run the First Class Pavilion Noodle Shop in a back-alley housing compound in central Shanghai. “We came to Shanghai from Fujian in the 1990s after borrowing money from our family and friends to set up a dried mushroom stall,” he says. After eight years, the family switched to running a restaurant, and are keen to stay in Shanghai.

52岁的陈凯庆(音译)和他的家人在位于上海市中心的一个后巷住房里经营着一家高档面食馆.”九十年代我们向亲戚朋友借钱离开福建来上海做干蘑菇买卖,”他说.八年后,这家人转行开饭馆,想留在上海.

“We never had big ambitions. We wanted to make a small amount of money and we did. We think we have fulfilled our dream, and we are satisfied with life here,” he says. “A lot of our town folk also went out and some of them did very well, even managing to buy a house before the financial crisis struck,” he adds.

“我们也没什么大的梦想.想赚点钱,然后就赚到了.我们觉得梦想已经实现,很满足现在的生活,”他说,”很多村里人也出来了,有些混的真不错,还在金融危机来前买了房子,”他补充道.

Of course, not all returnees have been successful. Some have returned to find there were no customers left in their hometowns for their entrepreneurial businesses. “I know some who set up small businesses with their savings, but those businesses failed because everyone has now left the countryside for the cities. And their savings got eaten away,” says Dr Liu. “By and by their wives could not stand it any more and left them facing a very dim future.”

当然,不是每个返乡的人都获得成功.一些回来的人发现自己的创业项目没有销路.”我知道有人用积蓄创业,但却失败了,因为大家都在外出务工.然后这些钱就打了水漂,”刘博士说,”渐渐地他们妻子就受不了离开了他们,让他们自己去面对惨淡的未来.”

* * *

As they reach their late thirties, forties and fifties, the first generation of migrants is beginning to outlive its usefulness, unable to shoulder the same backbreaking labour that they once did.

等他们到快四十岁,五十岁的时候,第一代农民工的体力日渐衰退,再无法承担重活.

Instead of moving up in the world, many of them have found themselves moving in the opposite direction.

他们很多人没能跟上社会的发展,反而被抛在后边.

“More than half of them have gone back home as they got too worn out to continue,” says Dr Liu. “Some of those also needed to go home to look after the older people in their families. The majority of these returnees are now working for small workshops in their home counties, some have started their own businesses and a very small number have gone back to farming. Some have moved in the opposite direction from the coasts, moving westwards to pick cotton in Xinjiang or digging coal in the north.”

“超过一半的人最后都因年老体弱返乡了,”刘博士说,”有些是为了回家照顾老人.现在这些返乡的人中大部分在村里小作坊做工,做些小生意.只有极少数人重新去种田.有些人到更西部的新疆摘棉花,或者去北方挖矿.”

He added: “But in their old age, they have no social welfare, no savings and no medical insurance. And they do not know how to fight for their rights. Most of them are doing dirty and consuming work that the new generation of migrants would turn their noses up at.”

他补充道:”但是等他们老了,他们没有社会保障金,没有积蓄和医疗保险.也不知道如何保护自己的权益.他们大多在做些脏活,苦工,而这些活新一代农民工不屑去做.”

The migrants who remain on the coast have seen themselves move inexorably down the value chain. For years they were a source of cheap labour for Chinese companies, now they are a source of cheap labour for municipalities, who often pay them below the minimum wage to sweep the streets or collect rubbish.

留在沿海地区的农民工眼睁睁地看着自己沦落到社会最底层.他们曾是中国企业廉价劳动力的来源,现在成了城镇廉价劳工,拿着低于最低工资的薪水去扫大街,捡垃圾.

“The first generation migrants can still earn more in the cities than they would at home. After all, they do not have much education and they are not as forward and aggressive as the younger generation. Activists like me have approached them many times to help them fight for their rights, but they do not get engaged,” said Xiao Qinshan, a labour activist in Shenzhen.

“第一代农民工在老家还是可以赚的比在城市里多的.他们毕竟没有受过多少教育,也不如年轻一代思想开放,有活力.像我这样的活动家有试着去帮他们保护自己的权益,但他们不是太感兴趣.”萧秦山(音译)一名深圳的劳工活动家说.

“But the situation is that companies in Guangdong rarely hire anyone over 40 years old and foreign-invested companies rarely hire anyone over 35. So the first generation workers are doing menial jobs – they are cleaners or neighbourhood guards. And the cost of living is rising. In the old days, ten yuan would have lasted a while, but today you can buy barely anything with it. There are tens of millions of these people in China’s cities, but no one seems to care. No newspapers report about them, and they remain disadvantaged and invisible,” he says.

“但现实是广东的公司基本不会雇40岁以上的人.外资企业也极少招35岁以上的.所以第一代农民工只能做些杂活-清洁工或小区保安.同时生活成本在涨.以前十块钱很经用,现在却只能买一点点东西.中国城市有几千万人,但没人关心他们.报纸也不会报道他们,他们是被边缘化的弱势群体.”他说.

Thirty-nine year-old Chen Zhihua, originally from Anhui province, works in Shanghai as a bao’an, or guard, for an apartment block.

30岁的陈志华(音译)来自安徽省,他在上海的一个小区做保安.

“I left home in 1992 and worked on a building project in Shanghai for a while. Then I went to make shoe heels in a factory in Wenzhou. That was a good job – I made between 3,000 yuan and 5,000 yuan a month – but eventually I had a stomach illness and had to leave. Now I get 2,000 yuan a month with free accommodation and food. Considering my age and experience, this is a crappy job,” he says.

“我92年离家到上海一处建筑工地打了一段时间的工,然后去了温州的一个厂子做鞋跟.那份工作不错-我每月能赚3000到5000块-但最后我因为胃病,只好走了.现在我每月能拿2000快,包吃住.想想自己的年纪和经验,这份工作太差了,”他说.

“There are not many options for us,” says He Jian, a 39-year-old construction worker from Anhui who is finishing up the restoration of Shanghai’s Bund. “I would rather stay on the building site than work in a factory and farm work is just as physically-demanding as this,” he adds. “We rural folk always look older than our real age anyway.

“我们选择的余地很大,”39岁的安徽籍建筑工何健(音译)说,他正在完成上海码头的修复工作.”我宁愿留在建筑工地,也不要去工厂工作,农活和这个一样需要体力,”他补充说,”我们这些乡下人看起来都比实际年龄老的多.”

In the last six months, the aftermath of the financial crisis, which has seen coastal factories desperate for workers to fill their production lines, has created new openings for migrants. Meanwhile, many employers have come to realise that the first generation of workers is far tougher than the coddled generation that has replaced it. “Most of the workers on site are about my age. The young people can’t stand the hard work,” says He.

过去六个月,由于之前金融危机的影响,沿海地区的工厂迫切地想招人维持生产线,这给外来务工者创造了新的机会.与此同时,许多雇主渐渐发现,第一代工人要远比后来的娇生惯养的这一代能吃苦.”工地上大部分工人和我年龄相仿.年轻人经不起这样的重活,”他说.

* * *

Meanwhile, the scars that have been left on this generation of Chinese workers by poor safety and chronic overwork are only just beginning to emerge.

同时,缺乏安全保障,长期过劳对这一代中国工人的影响才渐渐暴露出来.

Experts believe the number of first generation migrants who have suffered injuries while working on the coast could run into the millions. The government is working on better universal healthcare specifically to look after these people, but so far there are barely any benefits available.

专家们相信受过工伤的第一代农民工总数可能达几百万.政府在努力推行更好的广泛的医疗保障系统,特别针对这些人群,但到目前来说作用甚微.

“They have a rural cooperative medical service, which is of a low standard in terms of diagnosis and treatment, and which provides only 20 per cent to 30 per cent reimbursement of their bills. To get this service, you have to pay ten to 20 yuan a year in your home town,” explains He Wenjiong, head of the Social Security research unit at Zhejiang university. “But in general you do not get treated for light illnesses and since you only get 30 per cent of your bills back, you still cannot afford to go to hospitals for serious problems.”

“他们有农村合作医疗服务,但这对诊断治疗来说是低标准,并且医疗返还只有20%到20%.为了得到该服务,你必须每年在家乡支付20圆,”何文炯(音译),浙江大学社会安全研究小组的负责人何文炯(音译)说,”但通常你不会因为小病上医院,而30%的返还对于大病的医疗开支来说也是杯水车薪.”

Some of the first generation of migrants have workplace injury insurance, paid for by their employers, and companies generally cover the full cost of treatments that are incurred on site. But if the injuries only emerge later, such as lung disease or chronic musculoskeletal pain, it remains near to impossible to get treatment, or to get employers to admit responsibility after the event.

一些第一代农民工有雇主替他们购买工伤保险,公司一般会为他们的工伤承担全部治疗费用.但如果创伤在事后出现,比如肺病,慢性骨骼肌系统痛,这几乎没法得到医治,或让雇主主动承担责任.

“Quite a large number of first generation workers are having difficulties with their livelihood because of injury and sickness,” says Mr Xiao. “Out of the 900,000 workplace injuries identified in China each year, the majority are sustained by migrants. We did a survey in Hunan and Sichuan and we found at least three to four returnees in each village with injuries. Also, there are a lot of people with mental problems, such as depression, but no one is helping them either.”

“相当一部分第一代工人因受伤,疾病无法正常生活,”萧先生说,”中国每年认定的90万工伤案例中,大部分受害者是农民工.我们在湖南和四川做过调查后发现,各村大约4个返乡人中有3个是受过伤的.还有许多人有精神问题,比如抑郁症,但是没人去帮他们.”

Zhang Qian, 42, from Shandong has moved up the coast from Shenzhen to Shanghai because of worries about his health. He now works as a security guard.

42岁的张骞(音译)由于担心自己的健康问题,从深圳来到上海.他现在在当保安.

“I left the factory five or six years ago. It paid well, but it was too demanding, both mentally and physically. Long hours on the line and repetitious hand movements left me constantly worried about my health and I spent quite a lot of time not feeling quite right,” he says.

“我五六年前离开工厂.工资很高,但是压力太大,不管是身体上,还是精神上.长时间在生产线上重复着几个动作让我不住地担心自己的身体健康.我一直觉得很不舒服,”他说.

* * *

Cheng Guorong has still not told his family exactly what horrors he suffered in Ningbo, but his relatives have pieced together some of the missing years.

程国荣还是没有告诉家人他在宁波到底遇到了什么可怕的事情,但他的亲戚拼凑起他失踪这些年的零零碎碎.

“Our family has always suffered misfortune,” his cousin says. “For many years we just thought he was dead.”

“我们家一直很不幸,”他侄女说,”这么多年我们都以为他已经死了.”

Like many rural children at the time, Cheng dropped out of school in order to help his parents and his brother and sister on the land, chopping firewood and herding water buffalo. “He was a kind and considerate boy,” his uncle says. “He was never aggressive at all, but very easy going. He had plenty of friends and he liked to play football and ride his bike.”

和当时的许多孩子一样,程国荣辍学帮父母和兄弟姐妹种地,砍柴,放牛.”他是个友善细心的男孩,”他叔叔说,”他从不顶撞人,很随和.他有很多朋友,喜欢踢足球,骑车.”

When his production brigade in Boyang was dissolved, Cheng decided to go to Wenzhou to try his luck. He won jobs on construction sites and then moved to do similar work in Ningbo.

当他在鄱阳(音译)的生产队解散以后,他决定去温州试试运气.他在建筑工地找到份工作,后来又去了宁波做相似的活.

Initially, everything went according to plan. He married a woman from a nearby village in 1999 who bore him two sons in 2000 and 2001. He returned home each Chinese New Year for the holidays, sent back money and even bought himself a mobile phone, a rare luxury in those days – his family still had to walk to the grocer’s in order to receive his calls.

开始一切都很顺利.99年他取了邻村的一个姑娘,他们分别在两千年和零一年生了2个儿子.他每年春节都回家过节,寄钱回来,还给自己买了部手机,这在当时相当奢侈-他家人为了接他电话还得跑到小卖店去.

But then things went wrong. In 2003, Cheng was robbed of his savings and, worried about his family’s reaction if he stopped sending back money, he dropped out of contact. “His phone was always engaged,” his cousin says.

但后来出了意外.03年,程国荣被人抢完了积蓄.担心如果不向家里汇钱家人的反应,他就断掉了联系.”他的手机总是忙,”他侄女说.

It was common for first generation migrants to disappear for long periods – their families usually only saw them at Chinese New Year. When Cheng began to skip the Chinese New Year celebrations as well, his family began to search for him, but several attempts to track him down all failed.

第一代农民工失踪很长一段时间的事很常见-他们的家人通常只能在春节看到他们.等程国荣开始连春节都和不和家里联系了,他的家人就开始找他,但是屡次寻找都无果而终.

Unable to dig himself out of his hole and earn money to send home to his family, Cheng decided to vanish, his Chinese dream dashed. Today, he has told his relatives that he wants to return to work, but it is clear that his body and mind are wrecked.

没法让自己振作起来,赚钱寄回家,程国荣决定消失,他的中国梦破灭了.现在他和亲戚说要回去干活,但是他的身体和精神显然不允许.

“The government has not come up with any solutions about how to help these people,” says Dr Liu. “If nothing happens, this could turn into a really serious issue in the coming five years or so. We desperately need a minimum social welfare and free medical care, and the ability to transfer these benefits between city and countryside. Migrants should also be allowed to assimilate, and have the right to dispose of their property – either renting it, selling it or simply transferring it. But so far, I have not seen any evidence of serious change.”

“政府还没有任何关于如何帮助这些人方案,”刘博士说,”如果长此以往,这或在接下去的五年中变成严重问题.我们迫切需要最低社会保障金和免费的医疗保健系统,并把这些福利从城市转向农村.农民工也应当被允许同化,且拥有处理自己财产的权利-可以租赁,出售或者转让.但我至今还没看到实质的变化.”d out of contact. “His phone was always engaged,” his cousin says.

但后来出了意外.03年,程国荣被人抢完了积蓄.担心如果不向家里汇钱家人的反应,他就断掉了联系.”他的手机总是忙,”他侄女说.

It was common for first generation migrants to disappear for long periods – their families usually only saw them at Chinese New Year. When Cheng began to skip the Chinese New Year celebrations as well, his family began to search for him, but several attempts to track him down all failed.

第一代农民工失踪很长一段时间的事很常见-他们的家人通常只能在春节看到他们.等程国荣开始连春节都和不和家里联系了,他的家人就开始找他,但是屡次寻找都无果而终.

Unable to dig himself out of his hole and earn money to send home to his family, Cheng decided to vanish, his Chinese dream dashed. Today, he has told his relatives that he wants to return to work, but it is clear that his body and mind are wrecked.

没法让自己振作起来,赚钱寄回家,程国荣决定消失,他的中国梦破灭了.现在他和亲戚说要回去干活,但是他的身体和精神显然不允许.

“The government has not come up with any solutions about how to help these people,” says Dr Liu. “If nothing happens, this could turn into a really serious issue in the coming five years or so. We desperately need a minimum social welfare and free medical care, and the ability to transfer these benefits between city and countryside. Migrants should also be allowed to assimilate, and have the right to dispose of their property – either renting it, selling it or simply transferring it. But so far, I have not seen any evidence of serious change.”

“政府还没有任何关于如何帮助这些人方案,”刘博士说,”如果长此以往,这或在接下去的五年中变成严重问题.我们迫切需要最低社会保障金和免费的医疗保健系统,并把这些福利从城市转向农村.农民工也应当被允许同化,且拥有处理自己财产的权利-可以租赁,出售或者转让.但我至今还没看到实质的变化.”