Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Desperation is not a good thing

Fears of unrest in China are probably not misplaced, at least according to this reporter.

In China, Despair Mounting Among Migrant Workers

"Six months into what economists and labor experts say is China's worst job crisis since it began market reforms 30 years ago, many among the most vulnerable -- an estimated 20 million workers who lost their jobs after migrating from the countryside to cities -- are becoming desperate.

"As tens of thousands of manufacturing companies have collapsed amid slowing demand due to the global economic crisis, the laid-off workers can no longer find jobs in the cities. For many, returning to their rural roots is not a possibility because their families' farmland has been sold off to make room for shopping malls, office high-rises and apartment complexes -- leaving them with no safety net. Even those lucky enough to have kept their farming plots have been hit hard by a drought -- the country's worst in 50 years, according to the government -- which has affected up to 80 percent of the land for winter crops...

"The challenge for China's leaders is to ensure that no one goes hungry, without moving the country back to the iron-rice-bowl era, when the state guaranteed cradle-to-grave employment...

"Meanwhile, China's social welfare system is a work in progress and will be one of the main items on the agenda this week at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing. A proposal to create a universal safety net that includes unemployment insurance for all citizens was released for public comment in December, but it is yet to be implemented..."

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At 8:57 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Minister: China's employment situation "grave", counter measures take "initial effects"

"Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin warned of a 'grave' employment situation in China on Tuesday, but said government measures to boost employment have taken 'initial effect'.

"With the big drop in company posts, a large number of migrant workers who lost their jobs, and the labor-intensive industry falling as major victim amid global financial downturn, 'the employment situation in China is very grave,' he said at a press conference on the sidelines of the parliament's annual full session...

"China recorded the first rise in company posts in February after it dropped for four consecutive months from October last year, he said.

"'It's only a moderate increase of one percent, but it's good news,' he said..."


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