Deep Underground, a Chinese Miner Discovered Poetry in the Toil


In 2011, he found a wider audience thanks to his blogging craze, which then spread throughout China. Online, he met other poets, amateurs and professionals. One day in 2014, renowned critic Qin Xiaoyu came across Mr. Chen’s blog and asked for a meeting.

Over the next year, Mr. Qin and director Wu Feiyue followed Mr. Chen and five other migrant poets in a documentary titled Poems About Us (later released internationally asIron moon“).

The movie, released in 2015, received a lot of attention – in part because of the tragedy. Another poet he showed Xu Lizhi, a factory worker at electronics giant Foxconn, committed suicide while filming a movie. His death, which a series of deaths followed other Foxconn workers, has resumed an international inspection of the working conditions of Chinese workers.

The documentary also came amid growing awareness of how much China and the world have come to rely on this workforce, said Fei Xiao, professor of modern Chinese literature at the University of Kansas.

“Our daily life cannot last a day without the labor of labor migrants. But at the same time, they remain politically mute and socially marginalized, ”said Professor Xiao. “This is why more and more middle-class intellectuals and readers want to know more about their daily struggles.”

Mr. Chen was lucky with the film. He recently left the mine after neck surgery due to a work injury. Thanks to his new recognition, he found a job writing text for a travel company. – his first job in white collars. In 2019, he published his collection of poems, The Sign of Demolition.


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