Zheng Xiaoqiong and five other migrant workers were present on
Thursday when Guangdong Province Governor Huang Huahua delivered
the government work report to the local legislature for the first
time in their lives.
While plans and blueprints listed in the report are important,
the 27-year-old deputy to the Guangdong Provincial People's
Congress is more concerned with the welfare of migrant workers who
still sometimes suffer from prejudice and discrimination.
"When I was elected, what came into my mind first is that can I
help my colleagues and friends to get their unpaid wages sooner?"
It was the first time for the booming southern province to have
lawmakers from its more than 30 million migrant workforce. Zheng,
who works as a saleswoman at a factory in Dongguan and enjoys
writing poems, believed their voices and requests would be more
heard with direct participation in legislature.
Yang Chengyong, an official with the Standing Committee of the
Guangdong Provincial People's Congress, said "the six deputies are
all farmers-turned workers who came to Guangdong from other
provinces. Only workers are elected and the bosses and management
staff have been excluded."
In total, 790 deputies are meeting for the first session of the
11th Guangdong Provincial People's Congress starting Thursday and
running until Jan. 25.
Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities are
currently in their legislative season, featuring more grassroots
lawmakers and fewer cadres this year.
Among the 770 newly-selected deputies to the People's Congress
of Beijing Municipality, only 62, or eight percent, were from
government departments, compared with 100 five years ago.
Among Shanghai's 860 deputies, the number of officials of, or
higher than, prefecture level were 328, 49 less than that of five
"To cut the number of officials in legislatures provides bigger
access for grassroots deputies, a move that makes legislators more
representative of the general public," said Han Dayuan, a Renmin
University law professor.
Traditionally, officials and businessmen have constituted a big
part in Chinese legislatures. This has often come under fire by
Observers said that migrant workers numbering more than 200
million nationwide have become a major workforce in the country.
Despite this, they had not a single representative in the National
People's Congress (NPC), the highest institution through which the
public exercise their state power.
The NPC standing committee also noticed that the number of NPC
deputies elected from farmers and industrial workers had been
dropping in recent years. It stipulated in a document last year
that migrants should have their own representatives seated in the
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
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
In the Guangdong Provincial People's Congress, the number of
deputies from youth, women, non-communist parties and the industry
and commerce federation had also increased, according to Yang
One of the six migrant-worker deputies to the Guangdong
legislature will be elected as the NPC deputy and attend the NPC
annual session in March. He or she could be China's first migrant
worker deputy to the NPC, Yang added.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2008)