In a room at the in-patients’ department of Longhua People’s hospital in Shenzhen, a young couple was taking care of their child, an 18-month old boy who suffers from asthma. Zhang Feng, father of the child, is the founder of Wujiaoxing, a punk band composed of migrant workers from Shenzhen industrial park. They are now working on their first album.
Migrant workers, often unskilled and coming from the less prosperous hinterlands, have been called the backbone of China’s economic engine. Zhang Feng became one of this 277 million floating population in May 2012, when he was a 23-year-old university senior. He got a job as an industrial engineer in Shenzhen, in a factory owned by Foxconn, which produced iPads and Macs for Apple but became known in 2010 and 2011 for a suicide spate. Since then, workers’ difficult living conditions have drawn public attention.