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New migrants arouse attention

(CRI Online)

15:51, March 13, 2013

China has a new generation of migrant workers who are more familiar with city life rather than life on the farm.

How they will fare in the city aroused attention during the annual session of the National People's Congress.

The new generation of Chinese migrant workers, who were born in the 1980s or 1990s, account for one third of the country's working population.

They grew up when the country opened, exposing them to the outside world.

On one hand, they have better education and more opportunities than their parents; on the other hand, they have fewer connections with the farmland.

Professor Lu Huilin of the Peking University says living in the city is the goal for most new generation migrants.

"The elder generation would go back to the countryside, using the money they earned in the city to have a better rural life. Nowadays, the new generation, however, has a bigger goal, to become a city dweller."

Li Yanhui is one of the new generation's migrants. He came to Beijing in 1997. A few years ago, he brought his whole family to the capital from north-eastern China.

He owns a barber shop. To save money on rent, they sleep on a sofa in the shop. He's not sure what he considers home.

"If you say Beijing is my home, but for years, I can's even sleep on a proper bed. If you say it is the hometown, then for years, I haven't gone back there either."

Finding a place to live in the city is the first challenge for migrants. In big cities such as Beijing, monthly rent is usually 3,000 yuan or about 500 US dollars.

However, according to the latest data from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the average monthly income of migrant workers was only 2,000 yuan in 2011.

NPC deputy Liu Li, who is also a new migrant, suggests they should be allowed to apply for low-income housing in cities.

"Why can't migrant workers apply for the low-income housing? I suggest the government readjusts the applicable standard from the household registration restriction to other limits, such as how many years they've worked in the city."

As the new generation of migrants account for one-sixth of the country's urban population, Zhang stresses that fulfilling their dreams during the urbanization process, is the key to maintaining the country's stable economic development.

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