At least that’s what Xinhuanet is saying.
The government will remove all the barriers blocking rural laborers from working in the urban areas this year, including concerned regulations and systems, said Zheng Silin, the labor minister, at the China Employment Forum that opened here Wednesday….
….The official said the Chinese government has paid great attention to the employment of rural laborers and has taken it as an important step to raise farmers’ income and narrow the gap between rural and urban areas.
In order to promote the flow of laborers from rural areas to developed urban areas, the government has built an information network and strengthened the service of job agencies to organize an orderly flow of migrant workers across regions.
Even more dramatic, Zheng says the CCP will “reinforce law enforcement this year and harshly punish any violations of migrant workers’ rights.” Now, that’s a mighty big promise: as everyone knows, China’s migrant workers are subject to unbelievable outrages by unscrupulous employers, and they’ve rarely had anyone to turn to.
So what does it mean? More hot air, or is the CCP delivering a death blow to the hukou system and the exploitation of China’s migrant laborers? Unfortunately, past experience tempers any optimism I feel when I see stories like this. If it’s true, it would be wonderful. If not, it only confirms past prejudices. We’ll see, won’t we?
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.