36-year old Lü Linjuan and her husband first settled in Dongguan ten years ago, hoping to create a better life for themselves and their family by laboring in China’s factory to the world. Until last year, Lü Linjuan worked at an electronics factory in Nancheng, cleaning components day after day, quietly expending her youth. Over the years, their dreams evaporated and they were left struggling just to get by. They are now contemplating a return to their home village in Guangxi but feel trapped. has been in Dongguan for ten years. Younger workers, meanwhile, have no intention of going “home”, and are determined to stake a claim in the city.

In February this year, after the Lunar New Year holiday, the popular magazine, Southern People Weekly spent time with Ms Lü and her family in the urban village of Xiadun and drew a compelling portrait of migrant worker life in the Pearl River Delta. It shows that while conditions have improved in the past year for some factory workers, for others, that change has come too late.

Click here for an edited and translated version of the magazine article. The original Chinese article can be read here.