本期【经济金融板块】下的这篇题为《A Netflix documentary provokes reflection in China》的文章，描述了纪录片《美国工厂》播出之后在中国社交平台豆瓣和微博上接连不断 (thick and fast) 引发的热议，以及中美两国在现代工厂中各自的优缺点。
纪录片《American Factory》由来自俄亥俄的一对资深电影人夫妇拍摄，8 月 21 日在 Netflix 播出，播出后在国内引发很大的反响。这部纪录片受到广泛欢迎的原因之一是它的客观，从总部在中国福清的福耀玻璃 2014 年在俄亥俄的一个名叫代顿的地方建厂开始，原始的底片就拍了 1,200 个小时，最后播出的时长是 110 分钟。
影片中的美国工人一开始对福耀玻璃的到来非常兴奋，在 2008 年通用汽车关闭了在这里的工厂后他们中的很多人失业了，福耀玻璃的到来让他们重新燃起生活的希望。但慢慢地两国间的文化等差异让双方产生了一些分歧和矛盾，在福耀看来美国工人不能吃苦、效率不高、注重工作环境的安全等，最让福耀头疼的是部分美国工人试图建立工会的问题。
相比之下，大洋对岸的中国工人一方面勤劳吃苦有纪律，管理严格、生产效率高，但另一方面他们的工作时间很长，12 小时一班轮班倒，一年中很少回老家，对劳工自身的权益不够重视。文章还提到之前 Github 上中国程序员发起的 “996” 活动，以及深圳“佳士”事件等。
A Netflix documentary provokes reflection in China
workersA Netflix documentary provokes reflection in China
Lessons from “American Factory”
THE COMMENTS came in thick and fast on Douban, a social network popular with film buffs and bookworms. More appeared on Weibo, a microblogging website, where the hashtag #AmericanFactory has gained more than 16m views. The documentary of that name, by a film-making couple from Ohio, was released on August 21st on Netflix. The American firm’s streaming service is not available in China, but pirated copies of the film have proliferated. Strikingly, it has drawn praise—even as the Sino-American trade war stokes nationalist feelings within China.
That reception is partly a testament to the faultlessly balanced take of “American Factory”, shaped by 1,200 hours of rare footage. Much was shot inside a plant in Dayton, Ohio, which was taken over in 2014 by Fuyao, a Chinese glass-making giant that supplies the global car industry. In 2008 General Motors had closed its complex there, so for jobless local people Fuyao’s arrival was a miracle. Before long, however, Stakhanovite bosses clashed with a restive and outspoken factory floor. The film is a parable of modern manufacturing, showing the strengths and weaknesses of each country. For Chinese viewers, the failings of theirs hit home.
“It was hard to watch,” wrote a user on Douban. “Who does not know that Chinese efficiency is driven by depriving workers living at the bottom of society of their health, safety and dignity?” Another comment came from the city of Fuqing, Fuyao’s base, to which American managers are taken to be trained in Chinese factory-floor culture (they are alarmed to see workers crouched on mountains of shards, sorting them for recycling, and bewildered by the militaristic morning roll-calls and 12-hour shifts). “The scariest thing is that we have grown used to this,” wrote the native of Fuqing, pondering whether to feel pride or sorrow at management methods like Fuyao’s.
Young Chinese have begun to resist them. Earlier this year engineers in the cut-throat technology industry led a rare online labour movement to protest against the “996” regime (a de facto work schedule of 9am to 9pm, six days a week, often without extra pay for those extra hours). Last year students and activists joined protests by factory workers at Jasic, a maker of welding machinery in Shenzhen.
Their gripes were poor working conditions and firings after some had tried to unionise—something that in America Fuyao fought tooth and nail, and successfully, to block. “American Factory” depicts a collision between two working cultures. But worries about the plight of blue-collar workers unite them.■
This article appeared in the Finance and economics section of the print edition under the headline "Reflecting back"
Print edition | Finance and economics
Aug 29th 2019
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