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Voices of migrant workers heard in NPC

03-12-2014 21:28 BJT Special Report: 2014 NPC & CPPCC Sessions |

There are more than 260 million migrant workers in China, almost a fifth of the population... but their voices often go unheard. Zhu Xueqin used to be one of them. She's now a deputy of the NPC, trying to represent migrant workers' rights.

38-year-old Zhu Xueqin starts work in a warehouse in the morning. She's a sales director at a clothing company, and she sends supplies to shops every day.

"I decide on the supplies every day according to sales figures the day before. Then I get the delivery men to distribute them to 30 or more shops across Shanghai," said Zhu Xueqin, sales director of Huari Clothing Company.

But she has another role,as a deputy of the National People's Congress. One of her colleague complained to her before this year's NPC session.

"My son can't sit the college entrance exam in Shanghai, because he hasn't got residency here. He has to leave today, and go back to our hometown for high school. We have been here for so many years. It's just not fair," said Liu Yilin, delivery man.

Zhu Xueqin became one of the first three NPC deputies representing migrant workers in 2008. She considers it an honor, and a big responsibility.

"Migrant workers' lives change as society develops. My role is to report on that changing situation and their needs to China’s top legislative institution. It's such a big sector that the country can't afford to ignore it," said Zhu Xueqin, NPC deputy, Shanghai delegation.

She also works with a legal aid center to help migrant workers and collects first-hand information at the grass-roots level.

"Our company doesn't pay us on time. And some colleagues suggest us come here for legal help," said Wu Yang, migrant worker.

"In the past, more than 80% of our cases were from migrant workers. That fell to 60% in 2013. The way we help has also changed, because more laws have been made to protect them in the past few years," said Zhu Xueqin.

More than 30 migrant workers' representatives like Zhu Xueqin are submitting proposals, ranging from education to unpaid wages.

Migrant workers form a large group, numbering over 260 million. They've contributed a lot to the country's development, and are now calling for improvements to their rights and livelihoods. Drawing more NPC members from migrant workers is recognition of this group in China's lawmaking institution. And people are hoping it will help their voices be heard, and their rights better represented.


Editor:James |Source:

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