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Migrant Workers in China Mentally Healthier Than White-collars

Nearly 70 percent of China's rural migrant workers feel satisfied with their lot, and over 70 percent are even "in a very good mood recently", a survey has found.

The result showed migrant workers, generally considered a disadvantaged group, are in better mental health than urban white-collar workers, The Beijing News said Tuesday.

The three-month survey, by one of China's major health websites, questioned 4,000 rural migrant workers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The result showed that of the 3,889 respondents, 69 percent were satisfied with their current life.

"We were surprised at the findings since they usually took up very hard and tiring jobs," one of the survey team was quoted as saying. "For example, one of the participants, a middle-aged woman who earns only about 800 yuan (US$112) a month in Guangzhou, told us she 'felt very good recently, under no pressure at all'."

The surveyed were mostly workers in the construction, manufacturing and catering sectors within the age bracket of 21-45, according to the paper.

In contrast, over half of white-collar netizens in a separate online survey believed they had psychological problems.

Although generally enjoying sound mind, the physical health condition of the migrant workers was worrying, said the survey.

Only 19 percent of the respondents said they knew about occupational diseases, and 90 percent were found to have ailments of various kinds which they knew nothing of and were unwilling to accept that they had.

The lot of migrant workers is improving, with progress in the political and financial fields. China has about 200 million migrant workers. Recently, three were elected deputies to China's National People's Congress, the top legislature, the first time that this has happened.

Migrant workers income in general has risen over the previous year by 20 percent, as found by a survey released in January by Shanghai-based Fudan University.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)

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