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Communications of the ACM

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China's Young College Grads Toil in 'ant Tribes'


China 'ant tribe'

It is estimated that many of China's six-million 2010 graduates will join the "ant tribe."

Credit: China.org

Liu Jun sleeps in a room so small, he shares a bed with two other men. It's all the scrawny computer engineering graduate can afford in Beijing, a city so expensive that the average white-collar professional can't afford to buy a home.

A dim fluorescent bulb hangs from the ceiling of the 180-square-foot (17-square-meter) room on the fringes of Beijing. The floor is littered with cigarette butts, dirty laundry and half-eaten paper bowls of spicy instant noodles.

The dreams of many young educated Chinese are running up against the realities of China's rapid economic ascent. Rising living costs and low salaries—the result of a surfeit of university graduates—are dashing high expectations.

For now, Liu has joined the "ant tribe"—the millions of young Chinese so known for crowding together in slums in China's largest cities.

From The Associated Press
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