By Paul Chung
If there’s one takeaway lesson from all the migrant worker stories in the news, it’s that they are quite often treated like crap. Nothing has hitherto expressed this more bluntly than one Wuhan toilet.
“Migrant workers prohibited from entering. Offenders fined 200 yuan,” reads the toilet’s bare concrete slab façade in bright red letters.
The contentious statement was first brought to attention by a Wuhan resident who (naturally) suspected discrimination and subsequently reported it to a local hotline.
The owner, who is also the builder, of the toilet has since taken responsibility for the discriminatory remark. According to her, the toilet was built for the convenience of workers at a nearby plant. Sometimes she would collect a small usage fee but this wasn’t always enforced. As an increasing number of migrant workers flocked to her toilet, it started to become dirty. Ultimately, she was left with “no choice” but to initiate the ‘locals only’ policy.
Outraged migrant workers retaliated, saying “the toilet is always dirty” and that there is already one at their workplace.
The owner quickly clarified that really she never meant any harm and the threats were just empty-handed in the first place! According to her, the remarks only served as a notice and that the $200 fine has never actually been imposed.
Snoot city dwellers may love to hate on those lowly migrant workers who clean their streets, prepare their foods, and build their city, but unfortunately institutional discrimination in China does not end there. Foreigners (and dogs) are now at risk of being barred from certain establishments.