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Women's Rights Get More Protection
Thanks to the efforts of local police, the number of rape cases reported in Shanghai has decreased over the past four years, declining 11.3 percent annually.

"About 86 percent of the rape cases can be solved, a figure higher than most other criminal cases that occurred in the city," said Shanghai Vice-Mayor Zhou Yupeng in his work report on women's rights protection, delivered to the supervising team from the National People's Congress.

The number of cases involving the abduction and selling of women and children has also dropped in the past few years, ranking Shanghai among the regions where rape occurs less often than in other areas of China.

Statistics cited from the report indicate that the city's once tough problem - domestic violence -has also witnessed a decline in reported cases. In 1995, domestic violence accounted for some 34 per cent of all disputes related to family and marriage issues, compared with 10.53 percent last year.

However, social problems still exist in Shanghai, and perhaps the toughest one is job seeking.

In the past decade, with the country shifting from a planned economy to a market economy, employment conditions have also undergone dramatic changes.

Over 1.5 million workers became unemployed during the period, and the majority of them were women. According to a citywide survey, the employment rate among women between the ages of 25 and 49 has plunged from 96 percent to 74 percent in the past 10 years, and the income gap existing between the two genders is widening.

Moreover, the number of women participating in government and political affairs remains at a relatively low level.

(China Daily April 5, 2002)

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