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China Daily Website

Migrants deserve more respect

Updated: 2013-07-25 09:11
( China Daily)

A melon farmer was beaten to death by urban administrative and law enforcement bureau officials (or chengguan) in Linwu county, Hunan province. And a man from Shandong province - alleging that he was paralyzed below the waist after being beaten up by city guards in Dongguan, Guangdong province, in 2005 - set off a homemade bomb at Beijing international airport. Both incidents happened last week, and both sent shockwaves around the country, says an article in Beijing Evening News. Excerpts:

By selling their agricultural products or working in cities, farmers not only earn a livelihood, but also meet the needs of cities. But despite being in dire need of cheap labor, big and small cities alike are unwilling to accept migrant workers (who are essentially farmers) on the false premise that they would soil their image. In their desperation to improve their image, cities have empowered chengguan to deal with vendors and migrant workers in their own way, making life for the latter even more difficult.

Perhaps the implementation of the "healthy" development plan for urbanization worked out by 10 ministries and to be issued soon-which includes the construction of about 20 urban agglomerations, 180 prefecture-level cities and more than 10,000 cities and towns-will make life better for farmers working in or traveling to cities.

The bigger challenge, however, is how to change the lifestyle of the people who migrate from rural to urban areas. A major problem in recent years has been the failure of urban management to keep pace with the rapid development in almost every field, from infrastructure, security and employment to housing, education and healthcare. The increasing number of incidents between chengguan and migrant people and petitions against urban managements are reflective of intensifying social insecurity, which, in turn the effects of rapid development. Therefore, it's time local authorities changed their attitude toward migrant people before urban conflicts spiral out of control.

(China Daily 07/25/2013 page9)

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