China plans to further help migrant workers settle in towns and cities and protect their rights, according to a press conference held by government ministries on Wednesday in Beijing, capital of China.
The move aims to safeguard the equal rights and benefits of migrant workers who do not have household registration records in cities where they live and work.
It is part of reform of the nation’s household registration, or “hukou,” system.
China had 269 million rural people working in industry and service sectors by the end of 2013, with 166 million of them leaving their rural homes and dwelling in cities or towns.
By the end of this June, the number for those leaving their rural homes and dwelling in cities or towns was 174 million.
However, the hukou system prevents many of the migrant workers from accessing public services in cities, becoming a major hinderance to the urbanization process.
Speaking at Wednesday’s conference, Yang Zhiming, deputy minister of Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said houkou reform will play an important role in helping migrant workers settle down in cities.
“Migrant workers are new labor force formed in the development of industrialization and urbanization after China’s reform and opening up. The reform of household registration will help migrant workers settle down in cities. We will transfer rural labor force to the cities conforming to the situation in our country. Transference of rural labor forces in China has outstanding characteristics. First, the farmers migrate to towns and cities to seek better employment. Second, the migrant workers can retain their land in rural areas. Third, the migrant workers can get urban ID records and settle down in cities step by step,” said Yang Zhiming.
Officials from the educational and health ministries said the country will further ensure equality in education and health service for migrant workers and their children.
“The CPC and the State Council have paid high attention to the education issue of children who arrive in the urban areas with their migrant-worker parents. In recent years, the Ministry of Education has collaborated with other authorities to adopt effective measures. We are pushing forward reform which allows migrant children to receive education and take part in college entrance examinations in cities,” said Liu Limin, the vice education minister.
“By the end of 2013, China had set up 8,488 community health service centers and 25,500 community health service stations. There were 476,000 medical workers working in communities across the country. Now we have set up a community health service system, offering health service to all local residents and migrant workers,” said Wang Pei’an, vice minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission.
China plans to ease household registration restrictions in towns and small cities, gradually ease restrictions in mid-sized cities, and set reasonable conditions for settling in big cities while strictly controlling the population in megacities.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)