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Chongqing Sets First Rural Migrant Workers Day

Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality is to honor the builders of much of its modern infrastructure with the country's first ever Rural Migrant Workers Day.

The local legislature has adopted a resolution to set the first Sunday of every November as Rural Migrant Workers Day in a move to encourage public respect and fair treatment for migrant workers.

Special symposiums will be held on the day to discuss how to provide better professional training, social security insurance, medical services, accommodation and education to migrant worker families.

China has more than 120 million migrant workers, mostly farmers from west China seeking work in east China's boomtowns. Chongqing Municipality is one of the major migrant worker source areas.

The number of migrant workers is steadily rising, prompting China's legislature and government to consider improving their welfare conditions, healthcare and education rights.

In March, the National People's Congress, China's legislature, adopted a resolution providing for rural migrant worker representatives in the national parliament for next year's National People's Congress (NPC).

In 2003, Premier Wen Jiabao pledged to help migrant workers retrieve unpaid wages during his inspection of the rural areas of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality after a rural housewife complained that wages of her husband were always in arrears.

Fu Rugang, a rural migrant worker at Chongqing Donglin coal mine, said, "After the establishment of Rural Migrant Workers Day,I hope governments will make actual efforts to help migrant workers get their due social insurance, wages and help their children go to school."

Shanghai NPC deputy Peng Zhenqiu said, "The establishment of Rural Migrant Workers Day means more social attention and help will be given to rural migrant workers who are indispensable contributors to urban development, but usually disadvantaged without access to medicare, pension and other social security."

(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2007)

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