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What Are The Lives of Chinese Factory Workers Really Like?

Posted: November 15, 2013

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Behind all goods, from iPhones to sneakers, is a narrative of exploited Chinese workers. Reporter Leslie T. Chang says that's a disrespectful narrative — the real story is much more nuanced.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Misconceptions.

About Leslie T. Chang's TEDTalk

Behind all our material goods, from iPhones to sneakers, is a narrative of exploited Chinese workers with bleak lives. Reporter Leslie T. Chang says that's a disrespectful narrative. She sought out workers in a Chinese megacity and tells their stories.

About Leslie T. Chang

Journalist Leslie T. Chang's book Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China traces the lives of Chunming and Min, two young women working in Dongguan, a factory city in South China. Leaving their home villages far behind in pursuit of work, Chunming and Min are part of an estimated 10 million young migrants who work in China's booming factories. These migrants live in a "perpetual present," forging individual and nontraditional lives amid the breakneck pace of manufacturing.

Chang lived in China for a decade as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. She is now based in Cairo, Egypt.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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