Sign in or register
for additional privileges

Asian Migration and Global Cities

Anne Cong-Huyen, Jonathan Young Banfill, Katherine Herrera, Samantha Ching, Natalie Yip, Thania Lucero, Randy Mai, Candice Lau, Authors

You appear to be using an older verion of Internet Explorer. For the best experience please upgrade your IE version or switch to a another web browser.

Migrant Children in the Rubble



On a winter’s day during spring festival I venture out to a just open subway line, running south from Beijing’s West Railway station into the suburbs of Fengtai district. The city is empty, with much of the population back in their hometowns for holiday, a kind of proof that this is a city of migrants, and the sleek new subway stations and subway cars barely have any passengers. Towards the southern end of the line there is an interesting named station, something technical and futuristic like “such and such Science Park”, and it seems like it might be an interesting station to investigate.

We emerge from the tunnel, only to find that it isn’t in a developed science park at all, but instead among a field of rubble, demolished structures and bricks and trash from whatever was here before. There are no people at all. The winter wind whips through the empty desolate place.

Suddenly two children emerge, perhaps 5 or 6. They are playing with broken glass. We ask them “where are you from?”. They don't seem to know how to respond. My friend continues the line of questioning. They don’t answer, seemingly not understanding. He slows down his speech and they understand a bit, responding in highly accented mandarin. They are from another province, most likely the children of the construction that is going on.

But most migrant workers are home now. We look around and see construction sites, silent in the fading afternoon sun. We walk into some of them. Empty dormitories and equipment. We walk over to the where the science park is. . . futuristic looking buildings that are uninhabited and covered in dust. A pack of wild dogs walk down the empty street. . . a street to be inhabited in the future, but not yet. . . and seeming like some post-apocalypse where everyone has vanished.



For a moment, we are explorers on an alien planet, only filled with children, wild dogs, and empty monuments to a city long abandoned.
Comment on this page
 

Discussion of "Migrant Children in the Rubble"

Add your voice to this discussion.

Checking your signed in status ...

Previous page on path Rural to Urban Migration, page 2 of 2 Path end, return home

Related:  Beijing: First Ring RoadBeijing Capital International AirportYoudu 幽都L.A. Songs: Desperados Under the EavesBeijing - ShichahaiBeijing 1968Blade RunnerBeijing: GulouBeijing TaxiBeijing: Chang'an JieBeijing GhostsWudaokouBeijingBeijing, ChinaBeijing: PastFahaisiBeijing Cover ImageBeijing Airport - LandingMaps of BeijingVirtual Dubai: Spec Ops: The LineNorth Korean RestaurantL.A. Songs: HappyBeijing: BookwormSanlitunLine 13: Experiencing MigrationsBeijing: YonghegongBeijing 1968 MapLong Live Shougang SteelWangjing: Korean MigrationHutongsEducational MigrantsExpat MigrationTaijian BowuguanBeijing by Peter CarneyBeijing SkyBeijing Subway Close Up南锣鼓巷Beijing LiteratureBeijing FlybyTsinghuaBeijing DoorsTimeout BeijingWelcome to the Northern CapitalPinguoyuanTian'anmenSkylinesLos Angeles: FuturesLos Angeles: Reading the City798L.A. Songs: Funtimes in BabylonBeijing: Recycling VillageBeijing: Reading the City (Culture)Beijing to SeattleBeijing PhotosLos Angeles: Light and DarkBeijing FilmBeijing SimulacraBeijing Death CloudBeijing: A Global City?Beijing Subway MapBeijing Light MapLine II: Past and PresentBeijing: FuturesLine I: Orientations & PlacesBeijing Smog Map IIRural to Urban MigrationBeijing 1907Beijing Subway VisualizationBeijing SkylineBeijing: Asian Migrants and LaborersBeijing MonumentsMulholland DriveBeijing Music SceneBeijing TourismSeeing Foreign Bands in BeijingRecyling VillageBeijing, ChinaBeijing: Reading the City (Official Texts)Beijing Smog MapL.A. Songs: It Was a Good DayBeijing, January 2009Keanu & Man of Tai ChiThe 8th Ring Road: Limits/Speculative Futures/ConclusionsBeijing Vimeo Movies