BEIJING — Li Tianchao is an itinerant worker who has spent his adult life toiling long hours, living in bleak worksite dormitories and chasing the next construction job from boom town to boom town. A no-nonsense, weatherworn man, he is not quick to grouse.China may be a superpower, but, like our nation, it has plenty of problems. I'm a bit glad that the Olympics are there, because the world can now learn what China is really like.
But as he waited for a train to take him back to his hometown north of the capital, Mr. Li, 50, could not help but feel wistful.
“The Olympics have finally come to China, and I won’t even be here,” he said, lounging on a woven plastic sack stuffed with his possessions. He glanced up at the “Participate in the Olympics, Enjoy the Fun” banner above his head and shrugged.
Like thousands of others who packed Beijing’s main train station on Thursday, Mr. Li was prompted to leave town by a lack of work and an unwritten government policy encouraging migrant workers to clear out until the dignitaries and journalists have gone home.