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Migrants In Guangzhou
    2008-01-25 10:29:39     CRIENGLISH.com
The southern metropolis of Guangzhou is one of the most prosperous cities in the country. Its fast-growing economy and great employment opportunities make the city a magnet for rural migrant workers. So far, the number of migrant workers in Guangzhou exceeds five million, accounting for 40 percent of the city's total population. This has made administrating and serving the ever-growing migrant population a tough task for the local government. In today's program, our reporter Dan Dan will take us to Guangzhou to look at what the city has been doing to help the migrants better integrate into urban society.

Reporter: These are children playing happily at the Dadongjie cultural center in downtown Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong province. Their parents are all rural migrant workers living in the Dadongjie residential district. Zhang Xiang is the mother of a four-year old girl. A few years ago she followed her husband to Guangzhou from a village in east China's Zhejiang province. After finding jobs in the downtown area, they rented a small house and settled down in Dadongjie community.

Zhang Xiang says since a cultural center for the migrant people was established in the community two years ago, it's become the most favorite place for her daughter and herself.

"I often come here with my daughter. In the center's children's room there are many books, toys and amusement facilities. My child likes playing with them very much. She has also made friends with many kids playing here. As for myself, I like the internet bar and the reading room the most. It's good that everything here is free of charge."

The Dadongjie cultural center, which is also called Home of Golden Geese, is a two-story multi-functional building that was especially built for the migrant population in Dadongjie area with joint investment from the municipal and district governments.

The first floor features a service office, a meeting room, an Internet cafe, a library as well as a number of classrooms used to organize vocational training courses for migrant workers.

The second floor is installed with all kinds of cultural, recreational and fitness facilities, where both adults and children can find what they like and enjoy a good time.
The Dadongjie cultural center is the first of its kind to be built in Guangzhou to serve the migrant population. Li Huiming is the deputy director of the Dadongjie district administration office.

"There are over six thousand migrants living and working around the Dadongjie(󶫽) district. This has posed a great problem for us on the proper and effective administration of the migrants. Two years ago, the municipal government launched a Golden Geese Project in a wish to help the migrant people become a proper part of the urban society. The project was so named because we often describe the floating population as migrant wild geese. The Dadongjie district was designated as the pilot spot to carry out the golden geese project. Since then we have done a lot of work to facilitate the work, life, education and healthcare of the migrant people."

The official says the migrant workers are mainly from impoverished rural areas in central and western China, and most of them are poorly educated. Due to their rural roots and low level of education, the migrants usually have low social status and live on the edge of the urban society.

To help them better enjoy their lives in their new homes, the local government has established a wide range of service facilities for the migrant people, such as the Dadongjie cultural center, the golden geese school, the employment service agency and the migrant people's fraternity.

At the same time, the Dadongjie community medical center has had all the migrants, especially children and women, covered under the basic community healthcare service.

"The golden geese project features a series of programs, activities and services to make the migrants feel more at home in Guangzhou. The Dadongjie cultural center, for example, serves as a common home for all the local migrants. It's not just a place for entertainment. It offers regular vocational training classes to improve the migrants' professional skills and employment competence. These classes are very popular with the migrants because they are useful and free of charge. Besides, the center often holds cultural, sports and social activities to enrich the migrants' leisure lives."

As the common home for the migrants, the cultural center also looks after all kinds of community affairs related to the migrant population. It helps solve their problems in life and work, provide information consultations, protect their legal rights and interests, and help newcomers adapt to the urban life and find employment. It's become common that when the migrant people encounter troubles and difficulties, they first turn to the cultural center, better known as the home of golden geese, for advice and help.

Zhou Xia in her 20s is a migrant worker from southwest China's Guizhou province. She says at holiday times she always misses her family very much. Since the home of golden geese was set up, during the festive seasons the center workers often organize parties and entertainment activities for the migrant workers so that they feel less lonely and homesick.

"I'm very thankful for the staff at the home of golden geese. They have done a lot of good things for us. During last year's Spring Festival, for example, they held a grand party for us migrants who didn't return to our hometowns. We enjoyed a great carnival and a banquet of dumplings. It was really a memorable spring festival to me. I feel warm in this new home."

Following the pilot implementation in the Dadongjie community, the golden geese project has been expanded to all the residential districts in Guangzhou. Cultural centers for the migrants, which share the name of home of golden geese, have been established in all the major communities of the migrant people.

Li Huiming from the Dadongjie district administration office says the goal of the golden geese project is to try whatever the local government and society can do to make life easier and more enjoyable for the migrant population in Guangzhou.

"It will contribute to the building of a harmonious society by better integrating the migrant population into the local communities. The migrant workers have taken on many jobs that the local citizens are unwilling to do. They have made remarkable contribution to the city's development and deserve the respect and gratitude of the locals. So we should open our hearts and arms broader to welcome them as an integral part of the urban society. This way the locals and the migrants can both enjoy more beautiful and harmonious lives in this metropolis."

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