Coronavirus: China’s economic woes could be worse than thought as legions of migrant workers return
The sight of hundreds of migrant workers standing, sitting or even squatting at a temporary bus stop at the end of last week resembled the scene of an emergency evacuation, but it was not a natural disaster that had fallen on the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou they were fleeing.
The group assembled in Shangchong village had with them the bags and suitcases usually carried by passengers on interprovincial buses, but the addition of kitchen items, sewing machines, refrigerators, and air conditioners suggested their owners would not be making a return journey any time soon.
Some had arrived in Guangdong province just a few weeks earlier with China’s coastal areas in dire need of migrant labour to resume production after lockdown restrictions across small cities in Hubei province had finally been lifted.
But these migrant workers were not being forced to again flee the coronavirus, they had made the decision to leave as the economic opportunities they had arrived in search of no longer existed.