flour and rice sacks in a small store in the north of the city
Sunday, June 21, 2009
immigrant workers demolish a row of stores in the northern part of the city.
This extraordinary scene where men and women alike work with nothing more than their bare hands and primitive tools to demolish brick and concrete buildings, is not unusual in China. In my experience in many provinces and cities in China it is always the same.
My family and I were out walking close to these buildings (We had been out for a couple of hours, buying fruit and playing with our daughter). I as usual had my camera with me and saw these "workers", toiling in the debris.
I stopped to chat with them, and was struck by the extraordinary labour that they were doing. I had a bag of bananas with me. One of the men gestured and asked if they could have a banana, so of course I handed out the fruit. My partner suggested to me that I buy them something more, so after some discussion I went to buy some steamed buns and a large bottle of water.
It is unusual I know, that I comment in such a way on my images but in this case the actual background to the shot conveys perhaps more meaning than the image itself. It is often commented by myself and others the changes that are a part of everyday life in China, but do we (the viewer/outsiders) stop to think of who and how these changes occur.
China is a country of many minorities these men are from the far north west of the country, they are unable to find "better" work in Shanxi and are employed in situations that the majority of the population does not or will not do. In many ways this type of "racial" persecution is "developing " China, but until all minorities are treated equally in 'The Middle Kingdom', development will stagnate and be wholly superficial.