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Urban Redevelopment Affects Migrant Workers
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Zhang Qianzhou was at a loss as to where he was going to live. So were his neighbors, more than 2,000 migrant workers in the port city of northeast China's Liaoning Province.


They are living in government-built apartment buildings in Ganjingzi District of the city, which are due to be demolished early next month because of the rebuilding of the suburban area.


"I can see the daily march of construction in the city. New buildings have emerged and dwarfed our home and it will disappear at any time," the 55-year-old bricklayer from central China's Henan Province said yesterday.


Zhang has lived in Dalian Huaming Migrant Worker Lodgement for almost seven years.


Huaming was set up in 1999 to provide farmers-turned migrant workers with cheap accommodation. It is popular with migrant workers because the rent is low, it is close to transport and their children can attend nearby schools.


More than 2,000 migrant workers are currently living in Huaming. But not for much longer, it will be leveled next month to make way for a new primary school, which is to be built as part of the reconstruction project.


The school is scheduled to open next September for the children of migrant workers.


The families have found it difficult to find a suitable apartment in the area in just two weeks.


Carpenter Xu Jiajun has lived in the area with his family for three years and is concerned about finding a new home.


According to Hou Zhentao, deputy director of the Ganjingzi District, the local government is stepping in to assist.


"Most of them were very upset when they first got the news last week," Hou told China Daily yesterday.


"The lodgings were makeshift to help these residents, but problems on public health and security have continued in the shabby conditions. They are crowded, and not equal to the upgraded living standards of urban residents," Hou said.


"We'll try our best to help them become new residents as we quicken our step to turn the area into modern living quarters."


New apartments with "affordable" rent will be provided for the migrant workers, he added.


More than 30 local enterprises have been asked to provide jobs and accommodation for the soon-to-be homeless workers.


Dalian Hualin Group has hired most of the Huaming residents, and will build a new apartment block for the workers' families.


(China Daily March 31, 2006)

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