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3 decades on, China's migrants still "outside looking in"
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14:03, December 08, 2008

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Temporary residence permits, pay slips showing wages of 800 to 1,600 yuan (114 to 228 U.S. dollars) for 28 working days a month, photos showing migrant workers' hearty smiles, tears and bewilderment in bustling cities away from their rural homes.

These documents, alongside old uniforms, worn helmets, simple barbecue stoves, a shabby tricycle and other implements with which many migrants eked out a living, have been collected at the Culture and Arts Museum of Migrant Labor in the northeastern suburbs of Beijing.

At a corner of the museum is a small room that holds only a makeshift bed, one that is supported by bricks and a stool.

"We hope to record the living conditions, the culture and history of the migrant population," said Xu Guojian, 31, who opened the museum with his friends in May.

Xu politely asks every visitor to register in a notebook. From May to October, the museum had about 1,300 visitors, mostly students, volunteers and migrant workers from at least 100 manufacturing companies nearby.
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