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Legal Aid Norms to Help the Poor

The Ministry of Justice will issue a series of service standards and appraisal methods to help disadvantaged people seek justice, a ministry official said.

"The standards aim to help standardize the work of legal aid, and to improve the appraisal system on financial difficulties of people who need such aid," said Zheng Ziwen, director of the professional advice section of the Legal Aid Center under the ministry.

Xin Jianqiang, a farmer working for a Sino-foreign joint venture in Beijing, came to the Beijing Legal Aid Center this month in search of better compensation for his industrial injury, Beijing's Legal Daily reported.

Two years ago, he was hit by a truck and broke 13 ribs while going home from work. While his company arranged industrial injury compensation, it refused to pay him salary during his recovery period.

Xin then found out from a newspaper that the center provided free legal aid to migrant workers. He called the center and was told what materials to bring along with him.

Wang Xuefa, the legal aid center's director, said it is important to tell the migrants what materials they need in advance to streamline the process and save them from traveling back and forth several times.

He said since 2007 the center has tried to provide packaged and on-the-spot service to migrants and disadvantaged people.

Wang added that in the first quarter of this year, the center had handled more than 700 migrant worker lawsuits, a number larger than all of last year.

Statistics show that from 2005 to the first six months of 2007, legal aid organizations nationwide helped 263,489 migrant workers, about 22 percent of the total number of people helped.

(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2007)

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