Summary Of Scattered Sand By Deng Xiaoping

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During the late 1970s, Deng Xiaoping implemented socioeconomic reforms that created China into the economic powerhouse it is presently. These reforms have affected urban and rural areas disproportionately and have created two social classes. Despite the economic growth of the country, many Chinese citizens continue to live in poverty and struggle to support their families. In Scattered Sand, Pai documents her journey and the testimonies of the migrant workers she encountered across China. Through her interviews and conversations with various rural migrants, Pai uncovers the reasons how China is economically successful while millions of its citizens live and work in harsh and substandard conditions. Beginning in the late 1970s, socioeconomic…show more content…
The Chinese government began to deregulate managements and enterprises by giving them more autonomy and freedom and local government began seizing peasant land for commercial or industrial use after 1978. Prior to these reforms, the Chinese government was the biggest employer of its citizens, as its businesses were all state owned--employing 75 million people--and 400 million peasant worked on farms (Pai 4, 25). The result of Deng’s neoliberal policies, to create competition in the economy through privatization or deregulation, led to massive unemployment (Pai 25). In particular, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, reported 21 million workers were laid off from 1994 to 2005 (25). Although when workers are laid off they are supposed to receive compensation, millions of workers either received no compensation due to corruption from top level officials or minimal compensation (600 yuan) for their services. As a result, with subsides, sometimes lower than minimum wage, individuals had to look for work elsewhere to support themselves and their families. Furthermore, across all of China, it is estimated 70 million peasants lost their land due to seizures and is the reason for peasant pauperization (Pai 27). The rest of the land was redistributed among the peasants. However, farming on a bit more than an acre was not adequate to provide for an average household of four. Resulting in 200 million…show more content…
In coal mining, migrant workers face the possibility of death everyday. For example, Chinese coal mines are responsible for 80% of all coal mining fatalities in the world; the rate is 50 times higher than the USA (Pai 76). Since 2000, the most conservative official statistics estimate about 45,000 miners have died and 600,000 miners suffer from pneumoconiosis (Pai 77, 86). Most of these deaths are due the lack of safety regulations and equipment and poor management of the owners. The rest are due to black mines where private coal mines, under no government supervision, blatantly disregard safety regulations and equipment speed up production of coal to maximize profits (Pai 77). In the industry of selling blood, AIDS has spread among the peasants due to unsanitary blood collecting stations (Pai 91). Chinese health ministry estimates about 740,000 individuals infected with HIV/AIDS in 2009. The reason for the spread is caused by the lack of awareness and knowledge by the peasants. They are unaware that blood collection stations are illegal, unsanitary, and unregulated; furthermore, ignorant of how HIV/AIDS is spread (Pai 96). Even overseas, migrant workers suffer from poor working conditions. For instance the cockle-picking business, 22 migrant workers died from gangmasters wanting to maximize profits caused by negligence informing them of vital safety equipment (GPS, compass, torches, etc.) and
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