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Int'l Labor Organization Helps China's Employment Program

Four years after being laid off from an oil company, Wu Bingguang participated in a training program organized by the Zhaoqing city government to start his own business. Last year, he set up his own Hongli Knitting Shop to make cane baskets for export.

Successful in running his business, which now employs 38 people, Wu is among the first group of beneficiaries of the Start and Improve You Business (SIYB) program, jointly launched by the Chinese Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Currently, 170,000 Chinese people have attended this training program.

The ILO training program has been carried out in more than 80 countries worldwide, mostly developing countries, said Andreas Klemmer, ILO official for SIYB program in China.

Small businesses, each of which employs less than 10 people, employ 70 percent of China's total working population.

The core theme of the China's employment policy is to help more people to start their own businesses, said Yao Chunsheng, an official with the MLSS.

The program has been carried out in more than 100 Chinese cities since the program was introduced into China in 2004. The program is jointly funded by the Japanese government, the UK Department for International Development and governments of various levels in China.

Anybody who wants to start his or her own business can apply for the training free of charge, said an official with the MLSS.

Participants in the program are taught about licensing, bank loans, state policies and laws as well as the management of businesses.

China's working population is expected to reach a peak this year, with the working population increasing by more than 15 million people annually in the coming five years.

The Chinese government has set a target to keep the unemployment rate within 4.6 percent this year.

Yao, an official with the MLSS, said the Chinese government would continue the training program after the MLSS-ILO joint training program expires next year.

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2006)

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