Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality legislature started its
annual session on Sunday with the attendance of 51 farmer worker
deputies, a first in the city's history.
"As a farmer worker, I felt the city that I serve has recognized
our status," said 24-year-old deputy Huang Chunyan who works as a
The farmer worker deputies, who heard the work report of the
local government on Sunday morning, will vote on the city's budget
and elect officials, including the mayor, at the first session of
the third Chongqing People's Congress.
Since her election, Huang has carried a notebook with her and
jotted down the suggestions and complaints of other farmer workers.
She has submitted a proposal to improve social security for farm
workers to the congress.
He Zeyu, a farmer worker who watched the live broadcast of the
session in the square outside the convention center, said "I am
glad to see that we have seats in the congress. We now have better
ways to let people know what we want".
Farm workers accounted for 5.86 percent of the 864 deputies to
the legislature. The ratio of officials and cadres had dropped 3.9
percentage points to 432, according to Ai Zhiquan, deputy secretary
general of the standing committee of the Chongqing People's
Professor Dan Yanzheng of the Southwest University of Political
Science and Law said it is a social trend for more farm workers to
appear in legislatures. "Migrant workers will gradually enjoy as
many political rights as other groups in the development of
Statistics show more than seven million farmers in Chongqing
leave their villages to work in cities each year.
China currently has more than 200 million migrant workers,
mostly farmers from the west seeking work in eastern boomtowns.
Chongqing is one of the major migrant worker source areas.
As the number of migrants steadily rises, this has prompted
China's legislature and government to consider improving their
welfare conditions, health care and education rights.
The National People's Congress, China's legislature, adopted
last year a resolution providing for rural migrant worker
representatives in the national parliament for the upcoming
National People's Congress in March.
China vowed to deepen political restructuring at the 17th
National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October that
charted the nation's road map for future years.
President Hu Jintao said at the congress that "People's
democracy is the lifeblood of socialism ... The essence and core of
socialist democracy are that the people are masters of the
Yan Shuhan, a researcher with the Party School of the CPC
Central Committee, said the increased number of grassroots deputies
in legislatures showed the political restructuring process was on
Migrant farmer workers had also entered legislatures in a number
of provinces and municipalities, including Guangdong, Shanghai and
Jiangxi, before the Chongqing congress started the annual
(Xinhua News Agency January 21, 2008)