Made in China – The High Cost Behind the Low Price Tag

Admit it or not, we take many things for granted.

About 90 percent of the clothes we wear everyday are made in China. Not to mention the other things we purchase on daily basis – tools, toys, furniture, electronics, and home appliances. Behind the glamorous ads, sexy displays, and shiny products in the shopping centers around us, there are millions of Chinese workers, who make the goods that we consume every day, living in a world that most of us could hardly imagine and probably would not cherish. Yet, few of us would ever know, or even care about, their life and their pain.

Among them, the biggest group is migrant workers.

Every year, hundreds of millions of migrant workers from China’s impoverished regions search for work in the more prosperous coastal regions, such as Shanghai and Canton. According to the Chinese government statistics, the current number of migrant workers in China is estimated at 150 million, approximately 11% of the population. They are at the absolute bottom of the society. Poorly educated, inadequately trained and overworked, the workers never had enough protection when they find work from unscrupulous employers who flout work safety rules and withhold salaries. According to a most recent study, only 31 percent of polled workers regularly received their full salary on time, while nearly two-thirds lacked disability insurance.

In addition to work-place abuses, migrant workers are regularly stigmatized by city dwellers who blame them for everything from crowded buses to street crime. Yet, they are the most hardworking group who shed sweat and blood in exchange for the minimum wage (on average they make less than $200 per month), and who built the foundation of China’s modern infrastructure and exporting business. Not to exaggerate, they are the pedestal of today’s global image of China as an emerging superpower or a proud dragon on fire. There’s a recent documentary movie “Last Train Home”, directed by a Canadian Chinese named Lixin Fan, showing the world for the first time in history the real life of a Chinese migrant worker family. Yet, what you’d see in the movie is only a fraction of what’s happening to the migrant workers in China.

Spring Festival is the most important festival to Chinese families. Regardless distance, family members manage to travel home and celebrate it together. To many migrant workers who have to work 12 hours or more every single day, the two weeks family gathering is the only vacation they have in the whole year. Desperate to see their parents, wives/husbands and children, they have to join an unimaginable crowd struggling to catch the train home, before the lunar New Year bell chimes. And, when the vacation ends, they have to fight again to catch the train back to work, before they lose their low-pay jobs. [Note: Similar to many other developing countries, riding a train is the cheapest way to travel in China]. If you have got a chance to witness the around-Spring-Festival rush hours at railway stations in China’s major cities, you probably would agree with me the rush hour here in North America is nothing.

In the wake of thousands of heartbreaking accidents, inhuman abuses, and years of appeals from families of migrant workers, the Chinese government finally passed a labor law in 2007 giving greater protection to workers’ rights. Social groups and organizations emerged in recent years to help migrant workers not just find work but protect their interests and exercise their rights. Things are getting better. Despite the global and domestic economy downturn, over 97% migrant workers found jobs in 2009 and, compared to 2008, 1 million some more workers signed up for disability insurance, according to the official statistics. However, the workers’ living condition and social status are far from what they deserve. Behind the low priced made-in-China products, the migrant workers are still paying a high cost in their lives.

What should we do about this problem? Last Train Home, living up to its billing as “An emotionally wrenching portrait of migrant workers in China”, would surely help you understand China behind its supersonic economic growth. However, to solve the problem and improve the life quality of China’s migrant workers, we need to put in more thinking. Some say, “Why don’t we just boycott Chinese goods?” Well, it’s never that easy. Bear in mind, the poor workers would very likely lose their jobs for what you choose to do – a classic backfire. In fact, the power to make a difference is really in the Chinese government’s hand and our job is to give it a push.

The Chinese government, although never having a nice image on human right issues, is taking its steps and measures to make the migrant workers’ life a bit easier. That we know. The officials are proactively looking for solutions, including learning from developed countries such as Britain which had about 400 years of experience handling migrant worker issues, to improve the situation. That we know, too. But compared to the many other tasks, the migrant workers’ life quality has never been a real priority. They can certainly do better than that. The international community has been pressing China to advance on the matter and I believe, when more people like you join the force, the voice will be louder and stronger. And better chance the migrant workers will have an improved life sooner.

At least one thing you can do from today – never take the low price tags attached to made-in-China products for granted.

Low Priced Plane Tickets – The Method to Get Insider Pricing on Your Airline Travel

Whether you are flying across state lines or around the world, one thing that all airline travelers are looking for are low priced airline tickets. Let me ask you a question, Do you really think any of these travel sites are going to give you the absolute rock bottom price on flying? Of course not! Here I am going to give you a few tips and one killer tip that you can use to start getting the cheapest airline prices possible.

1. The first thing that you can do is find out when the airlines come out with their special deals. Most of the time contacting the airlines directly around midnight is going to yield the best results. If you can stay up till that hour and call the airlines then you may be able to get some great deals.

2. Another method to get low priced plane tickets is of course to take a flight leaving at a weird time. These red eye flights as they are often called are sometimes much cheaper because people typically do not want to fly at these times.

3. The best method that I have found for getting low priced plane tickets is to get in touch with someone who works in the industry, or who knows a lot of tips and secrets about flying cheap. This is your best bet for getting cheap airline prices to anywhere that you want to go, and is the method that I have used in order to get very low pricing myself.

So go ahead and find someone who knows what they are talking about and can get you great deals, you will be so glad that you did!

Tips on Getting International Flights at Low Prices

The airline industry is witnessing a revolution these days. This is because the number of people who travel to international destinations has increased manifold. This revolution has opened a lot of doors for the travelers. Flight booking has become very easy these days for international flights. With some efforts one can easily travel through international flights at low prices.

If you are looking forward to take one of the international flights which are generally very expensive, here are some tips on flight booking to help you get a seat on those international flights at low prices. Check these out:

• One of the premier flight booking sources today is the internet. The web has a lot of cheap international flights for you to choose from. You just have to check out some well- known, reputed travel websites. They offer cheap airfares for a wide range of international destinations, throughout the year. All the leading websites have comparison charts that offer you information on the discounted rates offered by them and their competitors. This way you can make an informed decision regarding the prices and get yourself a cheap ticket on the desired international flights.

• One very popular way to save money on international flights is to do the flight booking, much in advance. If you are booking your ticket well in advance, chances are you will get to benefit from a variety of early bird schemes. A lot of travelers tend to use this trick on a regular basis to avail cheap tickets.

• You may also call up a particular airline to avail cheap flights. Also you can also enquire with a local travel agency, regarding a cheap, affordable international air travel package.

• One trick which you can try is to travel during off-season. The best and the lowest rates are usually available in the time between autumn and spring. This season witnesses some of the cheapest airfares. In fact, you can save a lot of money in off-season on even some of the most expensive flights.

• Another wonderful way to avail cheap air tickets is to use your credit card for flight booking. There are many credit card companies who offer a plan for the accumulation of credit points or frequent flyer miles which can be used to take some price off the air tickets. You can enquire with your credit card company and can avail this wonderful opportunity to travel at lower prices in the international flights of your choice.