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Migrant worker-turned-NPC deputy focuses on rights and interests of migrants

By Liang Jun (People's Daily Online)    14:03, March 12, 2018

From a rural migrant worker to a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), Yuan Haibo, a man from the post-90's generation now has bigger responsibilities. He has been presenting proposals concerning the rights and interests of migrants workers at the ongoing annual session of the national legislature. 

 Yuan Haibo joins a panel discussion with deputies to the NPC from Yunnan province on March 6. 

In 2011, the 19-year-old Yuan left his hometown in Ciying county, Qujing city located in southwestern China's Yunnan province and headed for the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu known as the "world supermarket" for its wholesale goods to seek a job. Yuan explained his story to People's Daily on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th NPC.

Over the past seven years, Yuan worked as a salesman and a deliveryman for, but now he serves as a department manager for a Hong Kong-funded garment enterprise in Cixi city of Zhejiang province.

Although there are hundreds of employees from Yunnan province working in the same company with Yuan, in retrospect, looking back seven years ago to the time when Yuan left home village to find a job in the eastern coastal areas, he was definitely considered a “minority” in Yiwu, Yuan said.

“The people who ventured outside their villages had a lot of doubts about what they were doing at the very beginning. They were concerned about being deceived, unable to find jobs and furthermore not getting paid”, Yuan Haibo cited many of the shared worries other fellow villagers had when leaving their hometowns, concerns they had expressed to him over the years.

Actually, leaving the mountain village to work outside, especially in the coastal areas, is generally very helpful for rural people to get out of poverty, said Yuan, but seven years ago, dispelling their concerns and mobilizing their enthusiasm required significant government support and guidance.

With the governments at all levels attaching more and more importance to the protection of the rights and interests of migrant workers, relevant regulations are improving and more and more people are leaving rural areas to seek jobs, Yuan said.

Yuan Haibo

It should also be noted that there are still some significant issues remaining to be resolved which hinder migrant worker integration in cities, added Yuan.

In order to settle down in the cities, most of the "post-90s" migrant workers hope to upgrade themselves with additional qualifications during their spare time. However, some of the work schedules are non-standard, lacking fixed work and rest times which pose great pressure on employees and therefore many quit working after only a few months, Yuan said.

"Consequently, enterprises are always lacking skilled workers and they are forced to repeatedly recruit, which increases the cost of enterprises", added Yuan.

Yuan, the newly-elected NPC deputy, has proposed that the government should guide enterprises to standardize their work time and organize activities such as training, cultural and recreational events for the migrants workers so as to enhance their sense of belonging to enterprises and cities.

“Yiwu’s small commodities are famous all over the world. We hope that in the future we can also sell Qujing’s garments throughout the country,” Yuan said, he hopes to find a job in his hometown as soon as possible and contribute his own experience to the development of his hometown. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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