The CCTV Rabbit Year Spring Festival Gala which was held on February 3, with nearly a billion audiences, offered its stage the very first time to China’s migrant workers.
A band formed of two migrant workers, Wang Xu, 44, and Liu Gang, 29, gave their very fresh performance on the Gala’s stage. They earned support from thousands of netizens after the performance of their impressive reproduced version of the song, “In the Spring”. “Tears burst out from my eyes as the song ends, because I am also from the underclass and strive for a similar dream” said a post on Sina Twitter.
By introducing more undistinguished Chinese performers, the show, normally a gathering of China’s superstars and well-known comedians, is seemingly striving to connect with grassroots groups, such like offering stage to migrant workers. Most likely, this move is a nod to the leaders’ attempts to build a harmonious society. Considering there are millions of migrant workers in China, it would be a smart move to provide this opportunity to get them involved.
China is now experiencing the largest mass migration of people from the rural area to the urban in history. An estimated 230 million Chinese (by the end of 2010, estimated a number equivalent to two thirds the population of the United States), have left the countryside and migrated to the cities. And the number is increasing about 13 million every year, according to recent statistical figures.
Problems regarding to this large number of migrant workers in China have become a huge concern of the government. Migrant workers usually take low-paid jobs due to their lack of education and skills, and frequently, they are not paid on time. It is not hard to imagine that when they worked throughout a year, and have no money to send back their hometown, in certain extreme case, some people would committee crimes like robbery to get some money. One survey found 85 percent of criminal suspects are migrant workers.
Discrimination towards migrant workers is severe. In Beijing, the migrants are known as outsiders and they are blamed for an increase in petty crimes, drug addiction and bicycle theft. They receive little sympathy. One Beijing man told Time magazine, “The bumpkins cause chaos. They should go home.” Complaining about a group of ruddy cheeks migrants from the Sichuan province in dirty clothes and using a fertilizer sack for a suitcase, one woman in Beijing told the New York Times, “You can’t wear your pretty clothes on the subway. By the time you get to work, your pretty clothes already got dirty.”
However, given all these negative perspectives related to migrant workers, the CCTV spring festival gala, which is thought as a mirror of Chinese society, offered a stage to them. It projects the increasing impact and contribution that migrant workers have made in building up a better society. Because of more than 200 million migrant workers, China has the fastest urbanization and GDP growth in the world.