“Low-end” people in China

Yesterday I blogged about the response of He Weifang and others to the sudden expulsion from Beijing of large numbers of migrant workers (many not really migrant any more, but settled in Beijing). Critics of the move particularly slammed the government for referring to the migrants as “low-end” (低端) people. A Beijing official denied that “low-end” had ever been an official term, but Chinese netizens quickly dug up usages from 2011 and 2007. With attitudes toward the poor like this, no wonder the Party and the Hong Kong plutocrats get along so cozily. It reminds me of a famous closing sentence: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”