China's New Migrant Workers Want More

Twenty-one-year-old He XiaoJie (right) lives in a five-person dorm room within his factory Photograph by Christina Larson

The red neon sign over the front door of a new entertainment complex in Beijing’s suburban Daxing district—a local garment manufacturing hub—reads simply “The Skating Rink.” Inside, Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” crackles over loudspeakers, and a strobe light casts red and green pixels of light across a hardwood floor. The young migrant workers who toil in the garment factories nearby typically work on weekends, and have only two or three days off a month. So a crowd begins to form only in the evenings, after overtime shifts end around 9 or 10 p.m.

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