China Industrialization

Dana Dinardo

3 Images

The three images I chose are the buildings skirted with nets, the man sleeping in a cage, and the young boys on bicycles. These three powerful images truly depict the poor working, living, and environmental conditions in China. After looking at the first picture, you may be confused and ask, why are nets surrounding those factory buildings? These nets are there to decrease the rate of suicides of the miserable workers in China. “The nets came up in May, after the 11th jumper in less than a year died.” (Wired Magazine). It is not hard to believe, when these poor workers are forced to work more than “15-hour shifts, are prohibited from using the bathroom during work hours, and sleep crammed in 14-person dorm bedrooms” (Huffington Post Newspaper). Factory workers are given little to no privileges and receive extremely low pay for the hard work they do in the factories. In the second picture, a poor man, locally referred to as a “caged dog”, is sleeping in a 6 ft by 3 ft cage. Due to Hong Kong's high population rate, more than 50,000 people in Hong Kong reside in these cages. These “poverty-stricken people keep their clothes and photos of loved ones next to their filthy blankets in their cages” (Daily Mail). It may be hard to believe, but these people pay £117 ($1,500) a year to live in these tiny, unhealthy cages. The third picture features three young boys bicycling through China with facemasks on. These facemasks serve as a protection against “the smog and high levels of PM2.5-hazardous airborne particles tiny enough to enter the lungs and bloodstream” (USA Today). China is suffering immensely from pollution and has taken serious precautions to help this issue. One of these solutions include releasing cannons that gush water 2,000 feet up in the air to decrease smog.







5 Adjectives

Exhausted, inhumane, hazardous, miserable, and resilient are five adjectives that truly capture industrialization in China today. Factory workers are exhausted working from the inhumane working conditions in factories. A workday consists of 11-13 hours a day with not only excessive, but also unpaid overtime. “Working hours are so long that people sleep in the factories when a new product is being released” (Facing Finance). In most factories, breaks during a shift are non-existent. Some workers become so miserable that suicide is a common occurrence of factory workers. It has been recorded that “14 Foxconn workers committed suicide in 2010” (Stress Case). Under these hazardous working conditions, workers are surrounded by harmful substances and chemicals, which have caused death to many in factories. “Within seven months last year, two explosions at iPad factories, including in Chengdu, killed four people and injured 77” (NY Times). Considering these terrible working conditions, factory workers are resilient and work until “ they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk” (NY Times). These unfortunate, five words depict industrialization in China today.

Future Predictions of Chinese Labor, Manufacturing, and Cities

It is difficult to predict China’s future labor, manufacturing, and cities. Currently China’s working conditions are nearly inhumane by working their employers, thousands who are under-aged, for excessive hours, low pay, and minimal free time spent in crammed, grimy dorms. Workers are even exposed to harmful substances that put their lives in danger. Britain’s Industrial Revolution is easily comparable to the living conditions in China. Workers, including many children, were forced to work long hours for extremely low wages. Working conditions were very poor with unsafe environments, which often endangered the workers. Throughout Britain, laws, like the Factory Act, Ten Hours Act, and Mines Act, were made to create better working conditions and prevented child labor. Unions were often formed in order for workers to bargain for better working conditions and higher wages. The living conditions in the British Industrial Revolution were very poor. Streets had no drainage systems and garbage collected in heaps and workers lived in dark, dirty shelters. This caused sicknesses and diseases to spread.Pollution is a very serious problem in many parts of China, which causes widespread health problems. Working violations have been reported from China for decades now and more attention has been drawn to these very serious issues. Workers in China fear to participate in strikes or labor unions, knowing that they will be fired or receive even lower wages from factories. The high demand for products from China is becoming a serious issue because countries rely on China to produce so much for them. China gives countries a very fair price for their products, which causes the factory workers to be paid so poorly. Overtime, I predict that China is going to be forced to pay their workers more reasonably, which will definitely increase the costs of products for other countries buying from China. With the publicity of China's current working conditions, safer and healthier environments are going to be enforced upon factories in order to keep running.



Bloom, Dan. "Hong Kong's 'caged dogs': Poverty-striken people forced to live like animals in one of the world's wealthiest and most densely populated cities." Daily Mail 13 Feb. 2014: n. pag. Daily Mail. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <>.

Duhigg, Charles, and David Barboza. "In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad." New York Times 25 Jan. 2012: n. pag. New York Times. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

Facing Finance. "Foxconn: Working Conditions in Chinese Factories." Editorial. Facing Finance. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

Henderson, Victoria L. "Stress case.(Letters)(Letter to the editor)." Gale Global Issues in Context. N.p., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

Johnson, Joel. "1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who's to Blame?" Wired 28 Feb. 2011: n. pag. Wired. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <>.

MacLeod, Calum. Editorial. USA Today. N.p., 25 May 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <>.

"Microsoft To Investigate China Factory Where Workers 'Like Prisoners,' According To Report." Huffington Post 15 Apr. 2010: n. pag. Huffington Post. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <>.