China's National People's Congress (NPC) confirmed on Thursday the qualification of three rural migrant workers as newly-elected deputies, making them the first batch of "spokespersons" for about 200 million migrant laborers in the top legislature.
They were approved for a five-year term as deputies to the 11thNPC at the 32nd session of the 10th NPC Standing Committee, which concluded on Thursday, and will attend the upcoming first plenary session of the 11th NPC.
All the three were elected in major migrant-worker destinations, including Shanghai, Guangdong, and Chongqing.
The trio, who were in a list of 2,987 new deputies of the 11th NPC unveiled on Thursday, are:
-- Zhu Xueqin, 31, formerly a villager in east China's Jiangsu Province. With only a high school diploma, she went to Shanghai in1995 to seek better job opportunities. Now she is vice chairwoman for the trade union of a noted Shanghai-based fashion company.
-- Hu Xiaoyan, 34, a native of southwestern Sichuan Province. Hu has worked at a building ceramics company in Foshan City in the southern Guangdong Province for five years. She had been promoted to deputy workshop chief.
-- Hei Xinwen, a native of the central Henan Province. She is a deputy workshop director in a computer company in southwest Chongqing Municipality.
China's migrant laborers from rural areas power the country's fast-growing economy by working, often far from home, as construction and factory workers, restaurant staff, domestic servants and drivers.
The huge, but usually disadvantaged group, however, face various problems, including pay arrears, workplace injury compensation, health care and their children's schooling.
Fang Ning, deputy head with the Institute of Political Science under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said each social strata should have its own "political mouthpieces" to represent their rights and interests.
"Admitting rural migrant workers to the national legislature signified the government's acknowledgement that they are an important part of the country's industry," he noted.
Han Dayuan, professor with Beijing's Renmin University of China, said "The election will facilitate immediate, direct expression of migrant workers' appeals in national legislation so as to enable them have more say in policy-making."
"Migrant workers themselves most clearly know their hardships and more accurately present problems," Han explained.