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Legislator calls for better elder migrant worker welfare

2014-03-03 09:29 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Older migrant workers need more protection and better welfare as they are more likely to tolerate labor rights abuses, Chinese legislator Liu Li has said.  [Special coverage]

Speaking ahead of the annual session of the National People's Congress(NPC), China's top legislature, slated to open this week in Beijing, the 34-year-old hoped authorities could raise incomes for elder migrant workers, give them sound social security and offer vocational training.

Migrant workers are mostly farmers who shuttle between their rural homes and cities looking for work. They usually take the least-paid and most laborious jobs in cities.

According to Liu, who herself is a migrant worker, older migrant workers are more likely to be victims to rights abuses due to age issues and poor educational background.

Liu was one of the 31 migrant workers elected to the National People's Congress last year. She is a foot masseuse in southeast China's Xiamen City.

A native of south China's Anhui Province, Liu was a school dropout at the age of 14 and worked to support the schooling of her siblings.

Since 2006, Liu has sponsored poor schoolchildren.

She became a national role model and won a prize from state broadcaster China Central Television in 2010 for her contribution to the schooling of 37 children.

In 2012, Liu was elected a deputy to the local legislature in Xiamen City and became an NPC deputy in 2013.

Liu says she shoulders great responsibility to represent the voice of China's huge population of migrant workers, whose number currently stands at 260 million.

"I have received little education, and participated in very few political campaigns. As I learn more about the NPC system, I feel a greater responsibility," she said.

When the NPC is not in session, Liu visits migrant worker settlements in urban-rural fringe zones and collects proposals from them via e-mails and Weibo, a twitter-like service.

She listens to her clients' comments on society and sometimes asks them for solutions.

Last year, Liu submitted three motions respectively concerning the schooling of migrant workers' children, social security housing and integration of urban and rural health insurance.

Her concerns were addressed by the NPC. She said she was informed of the measures that had already been taken and soon to be adopted.

As a national legislator she is a busy person. She receives more phone calls, both from her family and fellow migrant workers, everyday, and her e-mail box is full of messages from construction workers, restaurant staff and vegetable vendors.

"People asked me to convey their messages to the NPC session," she said."I hope more attention will be paid to migrant workers and their living standards through my endeavors."

2014 Two Sessions

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