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China voices: the construction worker

21st May 2009

As part of our series offering a portrait of modern China, we ask ordinary Chinese people how they see their country. He Benying, 31, is a construction site worker in Beijing

What is the biggest change you have seen in China? And in your own life?

Economic development; there's been a big change with the market economy. And transport fees are very cheap now. I'm from a village in Hubei and in the 1990s – especially around 1993 or 1994 – people started going away to work; I came here to work about two years after that. My hometown is in a mountainous area and incomes here are much better – there's a huge difference. When we were at home we couldn't feed ourselves; now we have money to spend and live in better conditions. I want to stay here for a long time. I like the city. We have more freedom. It's more civilised and safer. In the past, police checked your temporary residence licence regularly, but now they barely do it. So it's more settled and convenient.

What's your greatest hope for China and for yourself?

I hope that our country will become better and better in every way, of course – in things like its economy and its importance in the world.

I hope I can earn enough money to start my own little business with my wife, who is also here in the city. I don't know what kind yet, but the work here [on a building site] is harder and people want a better life. We would like to have a business in Beijing; things like tax are more regulated – it's under better management.

Then I would like to bring our children to live with us. We have two sons, aged six and two, but at the moment their grandparents are looking after them in our hometown. We see them once a year and of course we miss them, but we have no choice; we have to work here to earn money. I hope I can get them a better education. I'd like them to start businesses in future and live a better life.

What's your biggest fear?

I don't have any fears. I'm so young! China is working well; everything's pretty good.

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