China has released a circular asking all localities to remove discriminatory regulations and unreasonable charges imposed on migrant rural workers. The move is to further protect these workers' rights and interests.
More than 100 million laborers have left their rural homes to seek work in big cities. They hope to escape poverty, only to find they face many obstacles to realizing their simple dream of earning enough to support their families.
Besides competition with local laid-off workers, rural migrant laborers looking for work in cities usually have to pay for residency, health and job seeking certificates, as well as cope with discrimination and a lack of social care.
The newly released circular by the National Development and Reform Commission aims to remove discriminatory government regulations which keep migrant workers out of cities and to increase their incomes.
Xu Kunlin is an official from the commission.
"Actually, back in 2001, the State Council removed many unreasonable charges on migrant rural workers, which reduced their collective financial burden by up to some 600 million US dollars. This time, the move will mainly cancel the certificates rural workers used to obtain by going through lots of red tape and paying good money for."
The new regulation asks all localities to simplify procedures, cut charges and offer training and guidelines for migrant workers wishing to work in cities. It also asks local governments to strengthen supervision of employment agencies. In addition, a hotline has been set up for people to report unfair treatment of rural workers.
In 2002, the central government called for nationwide efforts to safeguard the rights of migrant workers. During the past two years, various measures have been carried out to create more opportunities and improve the quality of life for migrant laborers in cities.
For example, the policy in Beijing won applause from both migrant workers and the general public by canceling the certificate for temporary residency last year.
(CRI.com August 4, 2004)