Posts tagged “Migrant Worker

[Photo Essay] Beijing Snap Shots: One Week of Spring

If you've lived long enough in Beijing, there's one season that we all look forward to and that is Spring. Beijing in my opinion only has two seasons: Summer and Winter. Spring and fall add up to a minimal 2-3 weeks out of the year. So when Spring arrives this city becomes much more active and people enjoy this season as much as they can. This photo essay was my attempt to capture as much as the city as I could during different times of the day. From the central business district to the hutongs in Gulou: I hope that you can feel the energy level of this city in one of the best times of the year.

1. A group of men pass by a public art at the Art District in Pinguo near Shuangjing. You can see Guomao, the central business district of Beijing, in the back ground to the north-west.

2. Heading north towards Guomao is Jianwai SOHO. The white buildings are noticeable from the south end of Guomao. Jianwai SOHO has commercial, residential, and office spaces along its 18 towers and is a popular destination for workers in the area for lunch and dinner.

3. Going west from Guomao is Qianmen, one of the major shopping areas in Beijing. This photo was taken at Qianmen Street: one of Beijing's oldest commercial area that has recently been renovated.

4. A woman walks by a group of pots at one of the side streets from Qianmen Shopping Street. QIanmen is home to some of the oldest restaurants in Beijing and serves a collection of famous Chinese dishes from all over China.

5. Families enjoy a nice weekend on Qianmen shopping street.

6. The National Museum. Photo taken from the Tiananmen Square. The museum was recently re-opened after its long renovation was completed.

7. Visitors exit the forbidden city and head south towards Tiananmen Square.

8. This Underground pass connects the Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City entrance.

9. Chinese tourists take a rest together besides the Forbidden City.

10. Chinese tourists are easy to spot with their identical caps.

11. Visitors enjoy the nice weather at the Forbidden City.

12. At the north end of the Forbidden City is the flower garden blooming with colorful flowers as you exit out.

13. Visitors glance over the Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park, located directly north of the Forbidden City. You can overlook most of the city of Beijing from this park.

14. Crowds gather at a local music performance at Tiantan Park, near the Temple of Heaven.

15. An Old man teaches how to dance with sticks to anyone who is interested at Tiantan Park.

16. As the weather gets warmer, more and more people can be seen at the park dancing and singing. I met people who were over ninety years old who wanted to exercise and keep healthy.

17. At Beihai Park, one of the largest imperial gardens in China on a sunny afternoon.

18. Taijiquan sessions take place daily from early morning to dawn at Beihai Park.

19. Students are walking home at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

20. A group of local high school students eat Stinky tofu together near the Drum Tower in Dongcheng District.

21. A vendor prepares pineapples to be sold by Drum Tower. You can find all sorts of fruits and small snacks in this area around the Drum Tower.

22. A hot pot restaurant attempts to attract customers as they sing songs and welcome people walking by.

23. A vendor takes a break from work. Photo taken near Nanluoguxiang.

24. Workers along Gulou Da Jie.

25. A family takes a rest in front of the Bell Tower.

26. Pedestrians make room for a car driving through the narrow commercial hutong of Nanluoguxiang.

27. Bikers and pedestrians await the green light at an intersection in Wangjing, the Korean Town of Beijing.

28. Residents of Dongcheng district enjoy a game of ping-pong. They are always looking for new contenders and they practice every day.

29. A mountain besides the Jingshanling Great Wall(located in the outskirts of Beijing) reads "Praise Chairman Mao" in white characters.

30. People rush out of Beijing heading east at Sihui during sunset. Guomao is in the background.

31. People crossing the overpass bridge at Shuangjing during sunset.

32. The dancing continues at night-time at Shuangjing bridge.

[Photos] Construction Around Nanluoguxiang

Living in China is definitely one of the best choices I have made thus far in my life. Coming from a Japanese background and heavily influenced by American culture, China is the perfect place for me to play around with my lost roots and observe and feel what Japanese people have lost over the years through the daily activities of the Chinese people whom I witness. But just like every corner of the world, income gap prevails and is seen in Beijing. Behind the blue construction fences are migrant workers working day and night while the rest enjoy their shopping along side Nanluoguxiang. Photo taken at the south gate of Nanluoguxiang, one of the most well-known commercial and touristy Hutong in Beijing.

[Modernity] How the new Census in China will affect Migrant Workers

We all know that China is the world’s most populous country but when we ask how many people are actually in China, even government officials in China have a hard time answering. So what does China do? China is currently experiencing a once in a decade census where for two weeks, 6 million census workers are knocking on each and every door asking for household information. But with an estimated 1.3347 billion people and counting, it’s not an easy task. For the census workers, by far the largest challenge will be counting and obtaining the information of the countrie’s migrant workers. 2009 data suggests an estimated 211 million migrant workers in all of China. Compassion for Migrant Children‘s data shows that about one-third of the population in Beijing are migrant workers.
How is this problematic? Before this year, the census was carried out depending on the individual’s hukou, household registration at birth. But starting this year, census is now based on where you now reside. But most migrant workers who come to urban cities like Beijing for higher wages don’t have the official capacity to reside in Beijing lacking proper paper work which is hard to obtain. Without proper documentation, migrant workers and their family members are denied access from public education and basic healthcare in Beijing. One could say that the backbone of rapid urbanization in China are the migrant worker’s hard labor. But with no proper documentation and some families illegally having more than one child, migrant worker’s families face a hard decision as census workers are coming around knocking door to door. If caught with  having more than one child, they will be fined and perhaps even be deported back to their home towns.
Even in my apartment building I felt suspicious that the non-Beijing accented workers are always going to the 14th floor of my building. With ever-rising housing costs, I found out that 20-30 migrant workers were sharing a 2 bedroom apartment. With this current reality of migrant workers it will be interesting to see how the census turns out as the counting closes in a week.

The backbone of China's rapid urbanization, a migrant worker continues labor even late at night.

This construction site began in early July and they have built this much already.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

[Development] Compassion for Migrant Children

This weekend is almost about to end but it was a rather fresh weekend for me in the ever cooling city of Beijing. Friday witnessed a rather early sleeping time and this was so that I could get up early at 6am. Saturday I woke up at 6am, got ready and headed out for 五元桥Wuyuan Bridge. Now, if you’re a local here you might be asking me WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU DOING IN WUYUAN QIAO!!? Wuyuan Bridge is all the way out in the 5th inner ring road which is pretty far from  the center of Beijing. It took me almost 2 hours to get out there: taking the metro, bus and by walking. Where was I headed for in Wuyuan Qiao? I made my way finally to a School in the middle of  no where. Starting this weekend, I have decided to make more use of my time here in Beijing than just the usual going out and wasting my time on the weekends recovering from the night before. I joined a NGO called Compassion for Migrant Children(CMC), which the organization stands to help migrant children in China by further expanding their education by means of using volunteers like me.

China has many social problems but as of now the massive migration of workers moving into larger cities, like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, is one of the largest problems China faces. Here are the stats for Beijing according to CMC:

50,000,000 Migrant Workers in Beijing as of now

500,000 Migrant Children in Beijing.

These are overwhelming numbers and is continually growing at a rapid rate. The problem is that these Migrant children aren’t registered in Beijing since they come from other provinces in China so they do not have the proper access to public education in China.  They do go to school but these migrant schools have poorly educated teachers and overall, the children don’t receive the proper care and advise they require. Most of the migrant children face a reality where they watch their parents work day and night and some drop out of school and start working at a very young age. That’s the situation in a nutshell and I promise I will be back with more statistics and info for future posts.

As far as Saturday went, I realized that I haven’t taught English for almost 3 years when I taught for a private English institution in Wuhan, China for the summer. But this experience was quite different. I wasn’t teaching for money and I was just doing it for the pure enjoyment of wanting to make an impact and learn at the same time. The school was a very simple and even though it lacked many resources the joy of the students and the energy they brought to class took over any negativity in the environment or what the children were going through. I only taught for 2 hours, mainly to grade school students but I really enjoyed it. I will be doing this for the next couple weeks until Christmas. For now, this is all the time I have to update on my experience but I will have a photo essay dedicated to the status of Migrant Workers and their family members by the end of the year! Stay tuned.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at