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Migrant Workers Contribute 16% GDP Growth
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Migrant workers have contributed 16 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past 20 years, according to a new report.

The report, released by the United Nation's Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) and the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, showed that migrant workers made significant contributions in the industries of construction, commerce, catering and urban environment cleaning.

China has 120 million rural labourers working in cities and the figure is likely to reach 300 million by 2020. At least one-third of the migrant workers are women aged 17 to 25.

Zhan Shaohua, assistant research fellow of the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the promulgation of policies concerning migrant workers by the State Council earlier this year provides a guarantee for all-round protection of migrant worker's legitimate rights and interests, including their rights to getting on-time payment, social insurance, and education for their children in cities.

"The problem is how to ensure the policies are earnestly implemented. It requires government supervision and migrant workers' awareness of safeguarding their own rights," said Zhan.

In a bid to help improve migrant worker's living status, the UNESCO and the institute jointly launched a research project on protecting migrant workers' rights and interests in 2002, running to 2007.

Eight cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Dalian and Kunming, have been picked as pilots to study the living status of migrant workers, especially the status of female workers.

So far, nearly 80,000 female migrant workers from all over the country have benefited from the project.

(China Daily June 12, 2006)

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