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Grace Tsai

New York, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

  • Assignments 11/3

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    The Discrimination in Urban China

    Mission Statement

    My mission statement is to develop the awareness of inequality and increase the survival skills for young rural migrants to live in urban city of China.

    Research Finding

    Cause of Issue The cause of discrimination between rural migrants and urban citizens in China are government’s policy and the hukou system. Such system result rural migrants’ citizens not been able to receive health care, equal educations, employee opportunities and more. Although rural migrants are able to “temporary” stay in the city bases on current policies in China, they are still illegal to work and obtain equal educations. At same time, however, the hukou system is very important for China government to monitor and control their labor resources and distribution; to strengthen the growth within urban city and restricts rural people to compete with urban people for the limited job resources.

    Two surveys and conclusion


    • My target users are low income rural-to-urban migrants age 15 between 25 in Beijing.
    • Many of them move into city as single, without family.
    • They either get into city through temporary residential permit, got into City University, or married with lower class of urban citizens.
    • They might consider as illegal workers (street vendors, illegal labor consulting services), or labors for lowest job class (factories and construction site).
    • They have basic educations that are higher than rural citizens, yet lower than urban citizens.
    • They either paid extra tuition for their children’s educations, or their children didn’t attend/drop out from schools.
    • Most of them do not have health care.
    • Their income is higher than rural households, yet only 1/6 of urban household income.
    • Rural migrants in city usually remittance to families in rural region of their origin. They account 20% of rural household income.


    The challenge is to design for rural migrants and support them to live legally in the urban city, at same time, does not go against with China’s current social policies and hukou system.

    1. Educational devices that improve teenagers’ test score, which will increase the possibility for them to get into university in urban city.
    2. Teach and demonstrate to young working migrants the importance of the law and how it can affect their rights.
    3. Devices for young female migrant to adopt the basic computer skills and expend their career in city.
    4. Sketches will be scan after class on Monday

    Cost/Marketing Techniques

    I wish the method of distribution of product could increase the awareness of inequality between migrants and local citizens. However, such method is depends on the solution of my thesis. The design should be low cost and made locally in China.

    Evaluation/Prototype Testing

    In order to test my design, I might have to find any kind of migrants’ organization in NYC that has similar education background as my target group.

    NFO Partnership Status

    • UNICEF – not willing to corroborate
    • AIGA XCD – directs me to people that could give useful feedback of thesis
    • KID FOR TOMORROW INC. – seems stop providing any activities for their mission
    • COMPASSION FOR MIGRANT CHILDREN – does not response to me
    • The Migration Policy Institute – has a lot of resource that only focus on local migration
    • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund – Reply that that they only focus on Asian American immigration
    • Coalition for Asian American Children and Families – Same as above
    • Chinese-American Planning Council - Same as above
    • Asian Americans for Equality – Same as above

    Shifting my target group to young adults and find organizations relate to migration and labor union.

  • I enjoyed looking through your map, which is very easy to read, and how thorough your research is on your subject, I wish you good luck on finding a NFP to work with, seems like your having a rough time getting that going. Keep it up!

  • Grace, I understand that you have shifted your focus from young kids who have been "left behind" when their parents move to the city to find better jobs, to young adults, who, I think, have themselves moved to the city in order to get low paying jobs and send part of their earnings back to their family back home. Are these the parents of the same kids that you were talking about before? They seem too young to have kids the age of the ones in the film you posted. I believe that you are proposing to create a product that could be used by these young adult urban migrants to improve their future employment options by learning an occupation that pays more than street vendor or construction worker (although in the US, construction pays quite well). Please confirm that I understand your new focus correctly, then I will have some comments for you about this new direction. steven

  • In response to I need a little more information...., posted by steven landau,
    in the thread Assignments 11/3

    I am no longer focus on left behind children because focus on that still does not solve any issue on discrimination. Discrimination came from government's decision, therefore my goal is the increase the possibility for rural migrants to go or survive in city legally.

    And yes, left behind children still exist in China, but it is very small % in overall population development; only big organization have focus on such small portion of issue (such is UNICEF). In addition, Chinese children that does have any education (regardless of educations that are provided) are still consider higher than other developing countries in Asia.

    After my research on reports and datas from and, I realize that UNICEF and some big name NGO only presents the absolute poverty with the worst situation happened in China, they somehow ignore the average condition of China in reality.

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Contact Grace Tsai

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design