Christmas decorations being made at a factory in Yiwu city, Zhejiang province, China – 15 Dec 2014

Wei gets through at least 10 face masks each day, trying not to breathe in the cloud of red dust. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Imaginechina/REX (4301626d)
19-year-old worker Wei wearing a face mask rests next to Christmas plastic snowflakes being dried as red powder used as colouring hovers in the air
Christmas decorations being made at a factory in Yiwu city, Zhejiang province, China – 15 Dec 2014
The city of Yiwu is known as China?s massive Christmas market. From 2001 till now, the booming Christmas production industry there has grown from a mere 10 factories to more than 600. The village produces 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations. 19-year-old factory worker Wei says he knows that Christmas is a festival, but doesn’t really know what it’s about. Wei and his parents came to Yiwu from their home province after their friends told them that they could make up to 4,000 RMB a month working in the factories. Wei and his father spend 10 hours in this factory every day producing plastic snowflakes for about 3,000 RMB per month. Red powder used as colouring hovers in the air, and the two get through about 10 face masks a da. Although he wears a Christmas hat at work, Wei?s father doesn’t intend on celebrating the holiday. The hat protects his hair from the red dust which covers them from head to toe like soot after several hours of work.

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