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Rural Laborers Flow Westwards

The number of job-hunters heading for provinces in western China increased significantly in the past half month right after the Spring Festival, the most important holiday in China.

In Sichuan Province, which exports five million laborers to other Chinese provinces annually, the ratio of rural surplus laborers going to coastal areas of eastern China declined from 80 percent in previous years to 50 percent this year, while the number of laborers to western China has been doubled.

Some rural laborers queued up at the Chengdu long-distance bus station to buy tickets for Tibet after they heard the news about the building of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway line.

Chang Fengxuan, a farmer in east China’s Anhui Province, led 500 villagers on a journey to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region this year. He contracted 146 hactares of land in Xinjiang three years ago and hired over 2,000 workers from Anhui.

A senior official in Xinjiang said the region welcomes laborers from all Parts of China because it is large in area and rich in natural resources.

Since the 1980s, a large number of rural surplus laborers from central and western China have poured into China’s prosperous coastal areas to seek jobs and make money.

Zhang Zerong, an economist with the Sichuan Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, said the current rush of laborers to western China heralds an upsurge of construction and higher economic growth in the region.

(eastday.com 02/16/2001)

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