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Improvements for Hong Kong Migrant workers journey home

January 2014, 27
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The authorities of China and Hong Kong are finally making many attempts to improve migrant workers journeys home over the Christmas period, which for many is the only time they will be able to afford to travel home to see their family throughout the year.

It is estimated that a staggering 258 million migrant workers will be travelling into Hong Kong and mainland China over the period of Chinese New Year and Christmas celebrations. This is a journey which takes on average at least 30 hours by train.

Subway Train

The journey is long, crowded and uncomfortable with many opting for a cheaper option of not purchasing a seat so having to stand for the duration or of purchasing one of the cheapest seats which is a hard backed plastic chair with no recline or padding. After a years long and hard labour this journey home however unbearable it may be is often the first time many of the passengers have had so many hours to themselves and a large percentage sleep for the duration. Mothers with babes in arms and couples cuddled up in a private corner of a train are images which are being broadcast all over the world by one female journalist named Xu Kangping.

Xu Kangpin is an activist for migrant workers rights and she has had her findings denied by the authorities so took it upon herself to purchase a ticket and travel the 30 hour journey whilst photographing the passengers in different states of sleep and she has uploaded this images to the internet which has shocked many to see the conditions inside these trains.

It is the journalists aim that employers of these migrant workers will extend their holiday so that so many do not have to travel at one time, she is also asking for better and more spacious conditions on board. Sometimes it only takes one man, or in this case woman, to bring about a whole reform and this is what could happen for the Chinese and Hong Kong migrant workers who face this abysmal journey each year.

To improve conditions there is hopes for a childrens area as so many children from newborn babies have to endure this painstaking journey, more comfortable seating, better refreshments and ventilation and more trains running would bring the migrant workers travel home up to a much better standard. With the images going global the authorities have no choice but to acknowledge and improve the conditions on board.

With the average Hong Kong migrant worker earning under £10 a day for incredibly back breaking work in factories and construction companies around Asia to fork out high prices for train seats is something they may consider an unnecessary splurge, if seat prices were brought down or even abolished this would improve the journey for those left standing for the duration. 

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