- Category: Frontpage Articles
- Last Updated: Monday, 01 May 2017 09:00
- Published: Tuesday, 13 December 2011 12:11
- Written by Jianhua Xu
- Hits: 6501
Once I took two girls from the Square. When we came to a crossroad, a truck was changing directions. I slowed down (my motorcycle), but one of the girls said her feet got hurt and she called 7-8 hooligans to beat me up. It was close to Huafeng police station. When the police came out, all of them ran away. I was beaten heavily and could not even stand up. The police did not chase those hooligans. An ambulance also came as my fellow countrymen called 110 (China’s police hotline). Doctors asked me to get it checked at the hospital, but we are migrant workers, how can I do that? Taking an ambulance will cost us 200 yuan ($30 or £16) per ride. We have no money! Later on, one of my fellow countrymen took me to hospital with his motorcycle. When we arrived, I felt a little bit better. So, I decided not to get checked. We migrant workers suffer a lot! Late that night, I found those who beat me up in front of an internet café, so I went to the police station and asked the police to catch them. The police were unwilling to go. They asked me if I could recognize them. I said “yes, I could definitely recognize them.” Then, the police said if they denied (the offence), what should the police do? This is how the police replied! Police officers are local people, when local people beat us up, the police will definitely support them. Here we have no way out if we are beaten up. (A narrative of a 46-year old migrant motorcycle taxi driver Uncle Dong).
In his classic work Rickshaw Boy (Camel Xiangzi, luotuo xiangzi, 骆驼祥子), first published in 1930s, the famous Chinese novelist Lao She revealed the life, hope, suffering, and desperation of a peasant who lost his land in the countryside and came to Beijing to make a living by pulling a rickshaw in the 1920s in China. The great rural-urban urban disparity in early twentieth century China drove peasants like Xiangzi to find opportunities in cities. For Xiangzi, “the city gave him everything. Even starving he would prefer it to the village… Even if you begged in the city you could get meat or fish soup. In the village all one could hope for was corn meal”.