A website was launched on Tuesday to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of rural migrant workers eking out a living in major cities across the country.
The website (www.zgnmg.org), operated by the Beijing Workstation of Legal Aid for Rural Migrant Workers, publishes laws and regulations on safeguarding interests of migrant workers as well as information on the more common lawsuits against those who have infringed on migrant workers' interests, Dong Lihua, director of the website, said.
It also lists 10 lawyers with the workstation who specialize in handling cases involving migrant workers. Migrant workers in need of legal help can also call a dedicated hotline for more information.
There are about 140 million migrant workers from the rural areas working in cities. Although they play a vital role in the country's construction and development plans, their social and political status remains relatively low.
According to statistics, non-payment of wages is a common problem faced by rural migrant workers, affecting 48.1 percent of them. Many migrant workers do not know how to protect themselves by legal means and have turned to violence as a last resort.
Calls started coming in as soon as the website was opened on Tuesday morning, Dong said.
"The website is a new way to help migrant workers," Dong said. "Besides offering legal help and advice, we also hope to raise awareness of the need to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests so that they can help themselves and others."
"The website provides not only help and legal information for migrant workers, but also a platform for society at large to learn more about their plight, Li Dajin, the chairman of Beijing Lawyers' Association, said.
Since its establishment in September 2005, the Beijing Workstation of Legal Aid for Rural Migrant Workers, a non-profit organization, has provided professional legal services in 2,007 law cases and helped 15,000 migrant workers.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2006)