Summary of The Voices of China’s Workers

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The Voices of China’s Workers summary
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Journalist Leslie T. Chang spent two years researching the lives of women factory workers in Dongguan, China. Here, she challenges popular narratives about the plight of the Chinese factory worker by presenting a number of positive experiences and benefits, such as education and upward mobility. Chang helps give a voice to a once anonymous group of people and brings a new perspective to the ongoing debate about globalization.

About the Speaker

Journalist Leslie T. Chang writes about workers’ – particularly women workers’ – experiences in China.



Debates about the ethics of globalization have ignored the motivations and will of Chinese workers.

A guilt-laden narrative about globalization avers that Western demand for inexpensive shoes, tech products, and other goods drives Chinese laborers into exploitative work conditions and grim factories. However, this narrative gives Westerners an unrealistic degree of influence and assumes that China’s 150 million migrant workers have no will or motivations of their own.

China manufactures goods for domestic use and for many markets across the globe, not just for Westerners. The...

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