New measures mulled to tackle unrest

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Authorities in South China's Guangdong province will introduce further measures to meet the demands of migrant workers, following rising unrest triggered by poor social management, a senior local Party official said on Thursday.

"One of the key measures will be to introduce more social workers and organizations to participate in the management of social affairs," said Zhu Mingguo, deputy Party chief of Guangdong.

Specifically, every 10,000 people in the booming industrial province will have at least five social organizations to provide public services to them, and social workers will account for about 10 percent of the province's total population, Zhu said.

"We will buy services from the social organizations to help us manage social affairs," Zhu said, adding that poor social management is one of reasons for the increasing incidents of unrest in the province.

"In such incidents, lack of experience and a poor response from the local government and Party authorities have helped fuel the dispute," Zhu said.

Speaking at the Guangdong provincial Party committee session, which concluded on Wednesday, Zhu offered some specific examples of the types of incidents that can be better managed.

More than 200 migrant workers were involved in a public order incident that was triggered when a pregnant migrant woman and her husband were injured in a dispute with a public security worker in Zengcheng, a suburb of Guangzhou, on June 10.

"We had to send more than 2,000 police officers to control the escalating violence," Zhu said.

Five people were given terms in prison for their roles in the incident.

Before this, about 1,000 migrant workers involved in a wage dispute that has already led to the serious injury of a migrant worker gathered in front of a government building in Guxiang township of Chaozhou on June 6, resulting in escalating violence between migrant workers and local people.

Zhu said that aside from encouraging the establishment of more social organizations, more migrant workers will benefit from the government-indexed rating system that aims to set up an easier application procedure for urban residence certificates.

The system, which took effect in June last year, has so far brought about 100,000 migrant workers into the urban residence system in Guangdong, sources with the provincial police authority said.

In addition, local authorities are also encouraging migrant workers to apply for government posts. This year, some 120 migrant workers will be selected as grassroots civil servants.

Ding Li, a researcher with the Guangdong provincial situation study center, welcomed the measures but suggested the government play a bigger role in supervising and regulating the social organizations.

"After more than three decades of development, Guangdong now faces more social management pressures. With such a huge population of migrant workers, the government has the key task, not of achieving fast economic growth, but of building a harmonious society," Ding said.

Guangdong currently has more than 26 million registered migrant workers, accounting for 10 percent of the country's total number of migrant workers.

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