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UPDATED: 14:34, June 25, 2004
China moves to raise employment in rural areas
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China is restructuring agriculture and rural economy to expand employment and removing the institutional and policy obstacles steadily to help a rationaland orderly flow of rural workforce into cities, said a white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council Monday.The white paper of China's Employment Situation and Policies, issued here Monday, said the Chinese Government has actively restructured the agriculture and rural economy, pushing hard the agro-industries other than traditional crop cultivation.The country is working to promote the industrialized management of agriculture and develop farm produce processing, sales, storage, transportation and preservation. Preferential policies of finance,taxation and loaning have been adopted to support a group of key and leading agriculture enterprises, the white paper said.The Chinese Government has reckoned township enterprises as an important way to employ the surplus rural labor force. In 2003, China's township enterprises produced 3.67 trillion yuan of added value, contributing to 31.4 percent of the country's GDP and they have provided jobs to 136 million people, or 27.8 percent of the total laborers in rural areas.Last year, more than 98 million rural residents sought jobs out of their hometowns, over six timesthat of 15 million in 1990. Since the 1990s, the number of farmersworking out of their native homes increased by some 5 million annually in average, the white paper said.The Chinese Government has adopted the policy of "treating fairly, guiding rationally, and improving administration and service" for rural migrant workers. The government is working to bring into full play its functions to provide information and administrative service for migrant workers, such as building public employment service organizations and the labor recruitment information network, making recruitment information surveys and timely analysis and announcement of the recruitment needs of enterprises.The government has put forward the National Plan for Training Rural Migrant Workers, 2003-2010 to improve vocational training for rural workforce, which is to train the 60 million prospective rural migrant laborers in seven years.The Chinese Government has gradually improved the administration on labor contracts for ruralmigrant workers in cities to protect their legal rights and interests, the white paper said.The government has tightened supervision over the employers and job agencies about payment and labor conditions. Illegal job agencies and those providing false employment information for rural migrant workers are severely punished.Efforts have been made to cover rural migrant workers with social insurance, the white paper said.In major provinces andcities where rural migrant workers rush to, such as Guangdong, Fujian and Beijing, social insurance has included rural migrant workers and relevant policies and regulations have been issued about work-related injury, medicare and pension insurance for them.Since 1991, the Chinese Government has made pilot projects in someareas to explore different approaches, policies and measures for the development and employment of the rural labor force in different natural and socio-economic conditions. Such projects, focusing on unified planning for employment in both urban and rural areas, rural migrant workers' returning home to start their own businesses, training of the rural migrant workforce and employment in west China, are being carried out in 98 counties andcities in 26 provinces and municipalities.

Source: Xinhua

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