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更新时间:2014-2-28 19:28:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

As Steel Mill Closes, Guangzhou Loses a Piece of Its History

Few steel mills in China have as storied a history as the Guangzhou Steel mill. Rival factions during the Cultural Revolution engaged in gun battles in and around the sprawling complex. Local residents say that young men and women hoping to flee China’s poverty and chaos in those days prepared for the all-night swim through shark-infested waters from Shenzhen to Hong Kong by practicing in the murky waters of the Pearl River next to the factory.


Now most of the site is silent. Grass grows along the sides of broad avenues between cavernous sheds. Huge crane claws, each thick jaw the size of large refrigerator, lie abandoned on piles of dirt. Rusty, deserted towers give the site a post-apocalyptic feel, like a set for a “Mad Max” movie.

如今,这片厂区的大部分地方都一片寂静。在巨大的厂房之间,野草沿着宽阔的道路两侧生长。起重机的巨爪被遗弃在土堆上,每个抓斗都粗重如大型冰箱。废弃的高塔锈迹斑斑,令这里生出一派末世之感,好像是《疯狂的麦克斯》(Mad Max)电影里的布景。

The factory was essentially a small, semi-independent city across the river from Guangzhou, with its own apartment blocks, eateries and even a sports stadium. But a decade ago Guangzhou annexed the south bank, built a series of bridges across the river and lined the south bank with skyscraper apartment towers — except for the steel mill, where clouds of smoke long put it at or near the top of lists of the city’s biggest polluters.Then, in the summer of 2010, the Guangzhou municipal government announced that it would begin closing the mill as part of a national energy-efficiency campaign that saw older factories and power plants suddenly closed all over the country to meet national and provincial targets. A new, state-of-the-art steel mill was built at the southern end of Guangdong Province in Zhanjiang. The Guangzhou Steel site was scheduled for redevelopment, although specific plans were not disclosed.


Closing such a large operation as Guangzhou Steel, with 6,000 workers plus a large number of dependents, proved slow and politically complicated. Many of the workers had been given ownership of their factory apartments at nominal cost many years ago and found themselves with unexpectedly valuable homes when the construction of bridges across the river turned the steel mill district into a desirable living area for ever-expanding Guangzhou, which now has more than 12 million people. But many workers were still reluctant to give up jobs that they had held for decades.


These jobs tended to pay less well than those at private companies in nearby communities that are desperate for skilled blue-collar workers, who are in acutely short supply as younger Chinese increasingly go to college and refuse to consider factory work. But private-sector jobs offer few of the valuable benefits that an older state-owned enterprise like Guangzhou Steel can provide in terms of access to sports facilities and other perks.Guangzhou Steel’s furnaces were finally extinguished at the end of last September, company officials said. Workers and company officials said that more than 1,000 people still had jobs, notably in thinning thick slabs of steel into thinner rods and other shapes, but declined to provide details.


Guangzhou Steel officials also declined to say exactly how the site would be redeveloped. Peng Zhao, a company spokeswoman, said that the company planned to shift its operations to the trading of steel, aluminum and nonferrous metals as well as the management of trade exhibitions, and would continue producing high-value steel for the auto sector at another site on the city’s outskirts.


The new factory in Zhanjiang, meanwhile, has been transferred to Baotou Steel, one of China’s largest steel companies.