A giant advertising board on the road into Shufu county's Wupaer township reads: 'One member gets a job, the whole family is enriched.' The average annual income in Wupaer - a town of 30,000 people outside Kashgar in far western Xinjiang - is a little over 1,400 yuan (HK$1,590) per year. So when 19-year-old Ainewaer heard he could earn 1,100 yuan per month working in the manufacturing heartland of Guangdong, he jumped at it. A total of 103 people like Ainewaer moved from Wupaer to the Pearl River Delta's sweatshops in October under a government job programme - including some who ended up at a toy factory in Shaoguan that was the scene of a deadly brawl between Han and Uygur workers. Two Uygurs died in the clash on June 26. Uygur exile groups said the brawl was the cause of the ethnic violence in Xinjiang's regional capital, Urumqi, on July 5 that left at least 197 people dead - mostly Han - and more than 1,700 injured. But in Wupaer, locals saw the Shaoguan incident as a backlash against false promises, gruelling conditions and unpaid wages. 'I was totally stunned when I saw my monthly pay was 600 yuan per month, as the township government clearly told all of us that we would get 1,100 yuan,' Ainewaer said. He said he could hardly afford the extra food he needed to supplement the meals provided by the Taiwanese-owned washing machine factory where he worked in Dongguan city. 'Officials in my hometown told us we would work eight hours a day, but I ended up working 15 to 16 hours. I was often hungry,' he said. On top of the long hours and never getting a day off, Ainewaer said he received no overtime pay and was unable to send money home. Indeed, at one point he even complained to his father about hunger and his father sent him 200 yuan to buy food. Many Uygur workers quit and headed home when they decided they could no longer accept the harsh conditions, but Ainewaer decided to tough it out. He said he was unsure of the terms of his employment contract, which he had never seen. 'I completed junior high school but I don't know any Putonghua or other Chinese languages,' he said. 'All of us [migrant workers] had to attend classes learning simple things like 'hello' before we left home. 'At my factory, there were no disputes between Han and Uygur workers for nearly a year, even though we worked with 600 or so of them on the same production line.' Ainewaer made no Han friends during his time in Dongguan, and was completely in the dark about the brawl in Shaoguan until he returned to Shufu county in August. After a break in the aftermath of the Urumqi violence, workers are once again moving from Xinjiang to Guangdong. Ainewaer is now earning 40 yuan a day as a handyman and decorator in his hometown. He said he bore no ill will towards the Han workers in Dongguan, but was still angry at the factory boss. He has no plans to return to the sweatshops.