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18 Migrant Workers Win National 'Labor Medal' Award
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The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) awarded 1,018 individuals, including 18 migrant workers ahead of the International Labor Day with "labor medals", the highest honor for ordinary Chinese workers.

"We should further advocate the spirit of model workers to influence hundreds of millions working people in the country," said Wang Zhaoguo, chairman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), at the awarding ceremony held in Beijing on Wednesday.

Among the medalists, 18 are migrant workers, 17 more than last awarding's. Bao Xianfeng, who came to work in the city from the countryside, has become the first migrant worker winning the honor in 2004.

"The awarding shows that society is starting to acknowledge and respect migrant workers," said Zhou Yuqing, vice chairman of the ACFTU, earlier this month.

The "labor medal" medalists can go on to be selected as "labor heroes," an honor issued by the State Council, or the central government.

However, of the 1,018 awardees, migrant workers accounted for only 1.7 percent this year.

China has more than 120 million migrant workers, most of whom work in arduous and insecure conditions for meagre wages.

The Chinese government issued a document on March 27, attaching great priority to dealing with the issue of protecting the rights of the farmer-turned workers, which recognizes the major problems of safeguarding their rights, including low and often delayed pay, long working hours, poor safety conditions and lack of social security.

(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2006)

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