Migrant Workers Seek Urban Equality
   2013-03-17 20:31:33    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Liu Ranran


In the 12th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, 31 deputies are farmers-turned migrant workers.

The number is a tenfold increase from the 11th NPC, which had only three migrant worker deputies.

These newly-elected deputies voice their opinions on how to help migrant workers to better integrate into cities.

CRI's Xiao Yee has more.

"Now due to the long separation from their spouses, many migrant workers have to find temporary husbands or wives. And this is becoming more and more common. My suggestion is to lower the application criteria for low-income housing in the city. Also, the government may rent vacant houses and lease them out to migrant workers at affordable prices. It can help migrant workers reunite with their spouses."

Liu Li, a NPC deputy and migrant worker, delivered her suggestion during the NPC session.

Data from the statistic bureau shows by 2011, over 73 percent of migrant workers are married. Most of them either leave their spouses at home villages or work in different cities from their spouses.

Liu is not alone in calling for better social welfare for migrant workers.

Cao Yong is from southwest China's Sichuan Province, and now he is working in a beverage company in eastern China's Jiangsu Province.

"The migrant workers I know usually change their jobs and move from one place to another. Such changes involve the transfer of social security. I hope the government can update its national database, so that migrant workers can transfer their medicare to the place they are working. Currently, if I move to another city, I can only join the local medicare program."

But for Ye Guoxian, a younger skilled worker, the concern is different.

Ye, who is also a NPC deputy, now works in an air conditioning manufacturing factory. For him, vocational education can lead to a better life.

"I hope the government can provide more free vocational education to migrant workers. And to lower the enrollment standard of vocational schools, so that more migrant workers can be trained as skilled workers."

From an older generation, Zhu Liangyu, a security guard who has worked in Beijing for 20 years, says children's education is the major concern for migrant workers who wish to blend into the city.

"My son was born here in Beijing. He is now in junior high school. What I really want to see are changes in our household registration system or changes in the college entrance exam, so that he can stay here to take the exam. Otherwise, he has to go back to Shandong. This is not only what I wish for, but other migrant workers of my age sincerely want to see."

Currently, in cities like Beijing, students are required to take the national college entrance exam in the place where their household is registered.

China has 260 million migrant workers who have contributed to the country's modernization as construction workers, retail sellers and much more.

After the conclusion of this year's NPC session, Premier Li Keqiang says the government will help more migrant workers to adapt to urban life.

It is expected that the country's urbanization rate will exceed 51 percent by 2015.



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