Deputies call for more care for migrant workers

Liu Li, a NPC deputy elected from the grassroots class is making a statement at the press conference yesterday held at the press center of the first annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress. Photo: CRI

“A growing number of migrant workers have short-term relationships due to long separation from spouses. It increases the rate of divorce and extramarital affairs in rural areas and has an adverse impact on the next generation,” said Liu Li (刘丽), a NPC deputy from the Anhui delegation at a press conference themed ‘migrant worker deputies talk about their duties’.

The press event, held yesterday at the press center of the first annual session of the 12th National People’s Congress, was attended by six NPC deputies elected by the grassroots group.

Introducing herself, Liusaid, “I used to work as a pedicurist and because some media friends covered my personal experiences of fighting for a subsistence in big cities, I got the chance to sit here (as a NPC deputy).”

She expressed deep concern about the ‘doomed fate’ of migrant workers having to separate with their spouses. According to Liu, people living in rural areas usually get married at an early age. So, when the farmer turned migrant workers go to great lengths to earn a living for the whole family, their spouses need to stay in hometown caring for the kids and elderly.

“Times have changed and women no longer feel ok with leading lonely lives like widows in the old days. So, the phenomenon of ‘temporary couples’ is becoming common among us,” said Liu, worrying the situation would not only lead to the breakdown of many rural families but also affect the lives of their younger generations.

To address the issue, Liu put forth two motions—one for the government to lower the qualification criteria for affordable rental housing to include migrant workers among the beneficiaries, and the second for the government to collect surplus homes from urban citizens and allocate them to migrant workers at lower prices.

Zhu Liangyu, a NPC deputy who is now working in Beijing as a security guard, confessed about his ‘Chinese Dream’. “The whole country is talking about ‘Chinese Dream’ these days, and my dream is for the migrant population to be able to lead a stable and happy life.

That is to say—when they get sick, they could be treated; when they get old, they could get benefits (like their urban counterparts); and in the city they work, they could have a home for living with their families. In this way, there would be no more children left behind in the rural areas,” said Zhu.

Zhu Xueqin, a NPC deputy and chairman of the labor union of Shanghai Huari Garments Limited,submitted a motion for the government to lay out policies for preventing the second generation of migrant families from going astray.

According to him, the number of migrant workers has exceeded 260 million in China now and the second generations of the migrant families are mostly leading miserable and depraved lives in the cities. “I visited a juvenile prison in Shanghai and found out that 85% of the young kids there are from migrant families.

Their parents tend to be too busy to communicate with their kids. The kids are going through rebellious teenage phase, and they drop out of school, do nothing meaningful, frequent cybercafé and KTVs, and make friends with gangsters.

Zhu Xueqins hope the government could work out an effective plan to provide love and care for the disadvantaged and vulnerable group so that they can have a promising future.

@ 笑笑声[Shenyang, Liaoning]: Are affordable homes especially meant for migrant workers? Are there only migrant workers in China? Why should migrant families be entitled to affordable homes? Does that mean the urban poor should just sleep on the streets???

@手机用户[Jinan, Shandong]: Extramarital affairs have nothing to do the housing problems, but everything to do with the problem of moral quality. If the cheating people are given a house, they would reside with their lovers and not their families.

@手机用户[Wuhan, Hubei]
(I) hope the country could pay more attention to the problem and solve it for the migrant workers.

Everyone should enjoy equal rights in China.

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