China's migrant workers contributed 16 percent of China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth over the past 20 years, according to a report released by the UNESCO and the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The report, issued recently, showed that migrant workers made significant contributions in industries of construction, commerce, catering and urban environment cleaning.
Currently, China has 120 million rural laborers working in cities and the figure is likely to reach 300 million by 2020. At least one third of the migrant workers are female with age ranging from 17 to 25.
Zhan Shaohua, assistant research fellow of the Institute of Sociology of 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 the right of education for their children in cities.
"The problem is how to ensure the policies to be earnestly implemented, which needs government's supervision and migrant workers' awareness of safeguarding their own rights" said Zhan.
In a bid to help improve migrant worker's living status, the United Nation's Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) and the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences jointly launched a research project on protecting migrant workers' rights and interests from 2002 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.
By now, nearly 80,000 female migrant workers all over the country have benefited from the project.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2006)