Global Politics

Why Chinese Factory Workers Don't Covet Your iPad

Theater performer Mike Daisey apologized on his blog this weekend for losing "his grounding" and fabricating details of his stage monologue.

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Daisey's solo show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" deals with the conditions for factory workers who make Apple products.

The public-radio program "This American Life" retracted one of its most popular stories featuring excerpts from Daisey's show.

We retracted the piece we aired by Bruce Wallace about Mike Daisey's one-man show.

Daisey made up details about the lives of factory workers, and he didn't spend much time with them.

Leslie Chang did invest time getting to know Chinese factory workers.

She's is a long time China correspondent, and a contributor to the New Yorker.

She spent two years getting to know assembly-line workers in south China for her book Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China .

"They are not victims. The workers choose to leave the countryside to go to the city. They choose to work in a certain factory," Chang tells host Marco Werman. "It's true they can't organize a union. They can't sue their boss. Certainly the system is stacked against them. But their choice is to leave to a better factory. And over time the really bad factories don't have workers and they have to improve conditions or they go out of business."

Chang says it's all part of a massive transformation sweeping China.

"Hundreds of millions of people are leaving the countryside for the city. This is larger than the number of people who came from Europe to America over a century," Chang says. "The changes that they're going through are immense and personal and let's just give them their due that they're choosing to go through these lives and not just think it's about us and our IPADs."

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    Leslie T. Chang's book Factory Girls examines the lives behind our high-tech gadgets.

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    Leslie T. Chang's Factory Girls examines the lives behind our high-tech gadgets.

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