The World of Chinese



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.”

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