chapter  2
19 Pages

The new-generation migrant workers in China

ByC. CINDY FAN AND CHEN CHEN

On 13 June, 2012, a 23-year-old Chinese Foxconn worker jumped to his death in the inland city of Chengdu, renewing public attention on labor suicides in China (Reuters 2012 ). The blight of China’s migrant workers received worldwide scrutiny when 13 young workers attempted or committed suicide at Foxconn plants in Shenzhen between January and May of 2010 (Li and Tian 2010 ; Chan and Pun 2010 ). All were between 17 and 25 years old, namely, members of the post-80s generation. In response, Foxconn, along with other manufacturing plants in China that also reported labor suicides around the same time, raised wages and promised to improve working condition. Foxconn also began an aggressive plan to move its production to inland locations in order to access cheaper workers. But the latest suicide in Chengdu suggests that extreme dissatisfaction by young migrant workers is far from over.