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Young migrants caught between city and countryside

(Xinhua)

15:04, July 18, 2012

HEFEI, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Young migrant workers in China who find themselves feeling isolated in cities are facing difficulties in returning to their hometowns, as they lack the farming knowledge that has allowed their parents to get by in undeveloped rural areas.

According to a survey conducted in Anhui province, a major source of migrant workers, up to 80 percent of young migrant workers do not know how to farm.

Over 1,000 migrant workers born after 1980 participated in the survey, which was initiated by more than 10 deputies to the People's Congress of the city of Hefei, the provincial capital.

The deputies released the survey results on Friday, saying the results will help them prepare proposals for next year's local congress session.

Ren Dehui, one of the deputies, said the results will show government leaders the living conditions of young migrant workers and allow them to make decisions to ensure social stability.

Chen Qingliang, a migrant worker in his 30s, works as a quality inspector in an electric appliance plant in Hefei. Although June and July are the busiest months for his parents, who are farmers in the city of Bozhou, he did not elect to return home and help with harvesting.

"I have been to school since I was young, so I have no idea about farming. I would be of no help at all," Chen said.

Chen and his girlfriend currently occupy a tiny house near his plant. He earns about 2,000 yuan (314 U.S. dollars) every month, spending nine months annually on business trips. To save money for their future home, they save every penny they can.

Having spent seven years in the city, Chen is reluctant to leave, but also feels it will be some time before he and his girlfriend can truly settle in the city.

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