The World of Chinese
OVER 65 PERCENT OF TRUCK DRIVERS CONSIDER THEMSELVES TO REPRESENT THE LOWER LEVELS OF SOCIETY
standing in society is low, there’s lots of us so no one really cares about you as an individual,” says Cai Shuang, a trucker for over 15 years.
During the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, truckers gained greater recognition and were praised for keeping the country fed and delivering urgently needed medical supplies to Hubei province, “but normally people don’t really care,” says Cai.
According to the Tsinghuatransfar report, over 65 percent of truck drivers consider themselves to represent the lower levels of society. Media coverage of overloading and dangerous driving has given drivers a bad reputation, which the report recommends the government to work to address. “Truck drivers’ social position is low, and they have to endure a lot of anger: from loaders, the cargo owners, the bosses,” a trucker from Zibo, Shandong province, stated in the report.
The lack of recognition and tough work make for a lonely existence as a driver. “On that long road I felt very, very bored. There was no one to talk with me. I couldn’t call anyone, couldn’t watch any videos… and I missed my family,” recalls
Sun. “But this industry gave me a lot of income, it helped me buy a house, and pay back the mortgage. It changed my family’s lives.”
As Li pilots his truck through the midnight hours with his headphones on, steering with one hand while dipping into a bag of sunflower seeds with the other, he reflects on how he copes with what can be a monotonous life on the road: “You have to look at it as if it’s a trip.
Each time you set out it’s a holiday, a chance to enjoy life…i don’t get bored. It’s my job, and I want to do it well,” he says. “And if you’re bored, an accident might happen.”