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Migrant workers in China

Migrant workers emerged in China in the 1980s as a by-product of two seemingly opposite policies; the household registration system established in the late 1950s to control internal migration, and the economic reforms initiated in the late 1970s to liberalize and boost the economy.

The household registration system was set up in 1958 to serve three purposes: government welfare and resource distribution, migration control and criminal surveillance. Chinese citizens were assigned either a rural or an urban household (hukou) based on their place of residence. Local governments were responsible for providing everyone whose hukou was in its jurisdiction with daily needs and services, such as education, housing and medical care. Urban residents were also entitled to food rations, grain subsidies and job allocation. To prohibit internal migration, residents were not allowed to work or live outside the administrative boundaries of their household registration without approval of the authorities. Once they left their place of registration, they would also leave behind all of their rights and benefits. For the purpose of surveillance, everyone, including temporary residents in transit, was required to register with the police of their place of residence and their temporary residence. By the 1970s, the system became so rigid that "peasants could be arrested just for entering cities." [1]

Over the last two decades, China has undergone rapid urbanization. The number of cities increased more than three times from 191 in 1978 to 661 in 2005. The proportion of China’s urban population increased from 18 percent in 1978 to 46.6 percent in 2009. (See international urbanization rate, and proportion and numbers of urban and rural population). As urbanization expanded, so did the gap between urban and rural incomes. According to a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in 1978 urban incomes were 2.57 times those of rural incomes, but by 2005, that gap had widened to 3.22 times, and in 2006 to 3.27 times. [2] The State Council Research Office estimated in 2007 that rural workers could only make 60 to 100 yuan a month in their hometowns, an amount they could barely get by on. [3] The discrepancy between rural and urban incomes spurred rural workers to move to the cities in search of better pay.

In 1989, there were already about 30 million migrant workers in China. In 1993, the number increased to 62 million and by the end of 2006 to 131.8 million.[4]  By the end of 2010, there were an estimated 242 million rural migrant workers in China, accounting for about one third of the rural workforce.[5]  As more farmers became city workers, the proportion of wages in all rural incomes rose from 25 percent in 1997 to 34 percent in 2004, and on the other hand, the proportion of primary industries in GDP decreased from 33 percent in 1982 to 10.3 percent in 2009 (statistics: composition of employment by types of industry; and GDP). [6]

An estimated 153 million migrant workers are employed outside their home county (statistics: proportion of migrant workers workingin other provinces), usually moving from the less economically developed central and western regions to the well off coastal regions (see migrant worker exporting and importing provinces map). The six provinces of Henan, Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Hubei contribute just under 60 percent of migrant workers nationally, While the Six municipalities and provinces of Beijing Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Fujian have absorbed almost 70 percent of cross-province migrant workers.  [7]  (statistics: major migrant exporting charts)

In Beijing in 2011, about 40 percent of the total population are migrant workers, while in Shenzhen, which grew from a small town in the late 1970s to become a vast metropolis three decades later, nearly 12 million of the total 14 million population are migrants. [10]

According to a 2006 national survey on migrant workers, 64 percent were males, and half of migrant workers were aged between 16 and 30. Only 10 percent of migrant workers had gone on to any form of further education after middle school, with migrants from the northeastern and western regions having the poorest educational background. (statistics: demographics of migrant workers)  Migrant workers are usually given labour-intensive, low-skill jobs; they make up 58 percent of all workers in secondary industries, and 52 percent in the tertiary industries. The proportion of migrant workers in manufacturing industries and in construction reached as high as 68 percent and 80 percent respectively.[11]
(statistics: migrant workers by industrial type ).

Table of Contents

  1. Institutional discrimination
  2. Reforms designed to eliminate discrimination
  3. Conclusion

1. Institutional discrimination

In their hometowns, Chinese citizens with a rural household registration are entitled to basic rights and social services. However, once they leave their registered place of residence, they lose these basic benefits and become second class citizens, with no access to urban social services. With a lower social status than that of urban residents, migrant workers are subject to daily exploitation and discrimination.

Harsh jobs, poor wages
Being on the lowest rung of the social ladder, migrant workers can usually only get poorly paid and arduous jobs in coal mines, on construction sites, in factories or cleaning the city streets – jobs referred to in Chinese as zang (dirty), lie (physically demanding), ku (bitter), and xian (dangerous).

According to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the average monthly income for migrant workers in 2010 was 1,600 yuan, one thousand yuan lower the national urban average of 2,687 yuan. (See Wages in China). Moreover, migrant workers are required to work very long hours (on average, 11 hours a day, 26 days a month).In 2009, 76 percent of migrant workers surveyed in 2009 did not receive overtime payments on national holidays, and more than half were owed wages in arrears.  A study in Hunan, Sichuan and Henan, found that although migrants worked 50 percent longer than urban workers, they earned less than 60 percent of their average salary, with migrants’ actual hourly wage about one-quarter of urban residents’. As migrant workers do not have the same legal status as the locals, many employers do not provide them with the same benefits they offer local workers. A survey of social security bureaus in 40 cities in 2004 found that only 12.5 percent of migrant workers had signed a labour contract, only 12.9 percent had work-related injury insurance and 10 percent had medical insurance.[13] Even in 2011, National People's Congress deputy Peng Xuefeng, claimed that only 42.8 percent of migrant workers had signed a labour contract, less than 30 percent had work-related injury insurance or medical insurance.

Work related injury and illness
Working long hours in hazardous conditions takes a heavy toll on the health of migrant workers. According to official estimates, about 200 million employees in 16 million enterprises work in hazardous conditions. There were 363,383 work-related accidents in 2010, with 79,552 fatalities. These figures however represent a significant decrease from 2003 when there were more than 700,000 serious work-related injuries nation-wide, claiming 130,000 lives. Most victims were migrant workers.[14]  Coal mining, construction and manufacturing are among the highest risk jobs. A study of 85 enterprises and 5,800 migrant workers in Shandong found that 70 of the enterprises exposed their workers to environmental dangers. About 60 percent of workers were exposed to unsafe levels of toxic dust, 28 percent of construction and textile workers surveyed had respiratory problems, and many workers were undernourished, sleep-deprived, and physically exhausted. [15] Another survey revealed that only 20 percent of migrant workers consulted qualified doctors when ill, 40 percent took over the counter medicine, 25 percent visited local clinics and 13 percent did nothing.[16]

By far the most prevalent occupational illness in China today is pneumoconiosis, which accounts for around 90 percent of all new cases. It is caused by prolonged exposure to mineral dust, which drastically reduces the lungs’ ability to extract oxygen from the air. High levels of mineral dust are found in numerous industries including mining, quarrying, construction, sand-blasting and gemstone manufacture. A survey by the State Administration of Work Safety in September 2011 found that mineral dust emissions in 95 percent of all gold mines exceeded national safety standards.

The key problem for workers at risk of occupational disease in China is the failure of local governments to enforce national safety standards in high dust industries such as mining, quarrying and construction. A lack of resources and collusion with business owners means that local governments are unwilling or unable to effectively police dangerous and polluting enterprises. Moreover, the majority of migrant workers suffering from pneumoconiosis find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to claim compensation because they no longer work at the enterprise where they contracted the disease and cannot prove that they were previously employed at that enterprise.

Living Conditions
Migrant workers tend to spend as little as possible on daily necessities – on average between 200 and 300 yuan each month – in order to send as much money back home as possible.[19]  They usually live on basic meals such as vegetables and noodles. They also stay in the cheapest and most congested accommodation. In Shanghai, migrant workers occupied on average of less than seven square meters per person (five square meters for workers living in a dormitory and, in extreme cases, only two square meters), half of the size of local workers’ accommodation. A survey in Chongqing found that 17 percent of migrant workers had no running water, 61 percent no toilets, and 57 percent no kitchen.[20]

In cities with a high concentration of migrant workers, such as Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai, more than half live in enclaves known as “urban villages” (chengzhongcun) often characterized by high density, poor quality housing, limited infrastructure, poor safety and hygiene and social disorder. [21] In Guangzhou, about three million people, or one quarter of the total population, live in urban villages. Moreover, urban villages often provide facilities such as restaurants and medical clinics with affordable prices, which make them a popular choice for migrant workers.[22]  In Guangzhou the rent for a two-bedroom flat in the suburbs was about 800 yuan in 2007, while in Shanghai, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment was 1,500 yuan, far more than most migrant workers can afford. In fact, only 20 percent of migrant workers in Shanghai can afford to pay rents in excess of 300 yuan. Although there is social and political pressure to clean up the urban villages, some scholars have pointed out that the fact that urban villages offer affordable shelter and other services the migrant workers cannot otherwise afford, should not be ignored.[23]

Many factories provide accommodation for migrant workers at a relatively low rent. However, they are usually overcrowded and rudimentary with 12 to 15 workers sharing a 25 square meter room.[24]  There are even reports of up to 30 workers sleeping in a single room in a windowless basement with no showers or ventilation. The workers were required to follow a daily schedule drawn up by the management, and only allowed to take a shower or a bath in a nearby building once a week.[25]

Social marginalisation
The harsh working and living conditions of migrant workers put pregnant women at a higher risk. In Guangdong, the mortality rate of pregnant migrant workers in 2007 was 40 per 100,000 persons, compared with only 20 in the general population. The general population mortality rate fell to 13 per 100,000 persons in 2011. The average mortality rate of pregnant women in developed countries is about 10 per 100,000 (two in Sweden and six in Canada).[26]

A survey by Zhejiang University and London University showed that migrant workers were more likely to feel lonely, anxious and pessimistic. More than half of construction workers felt their life was meaningless and 17 percent had thought about suicide.[27]

Migrant workers are, in addition, more vulnerable to crime. In Shanghai, the floating population makes up about a quarter of the total population; more than half of all crimes are committed by and against the floating population. [28] And the lives of migrant workers are cheaper than urban residents. In 2003 the Supreme People's Court issued a judicial interpretation regarding compensation for deaths in personal injury cases, which was based on the average wages of registered place of residence of the injured person. This meant that even if migrant workers had been the residents in their host city for many years, their compensation for personal injury and death would still be lower than that for their urban counterparts.[29]

Hukou restrictions limit migrant workers’ participation in local politics. The Shanghai municipal people's congress did not admit migrant worker delegates until January 2006, and then only as observers, not full representatives. [30] Only in 2008, were three migrant workers selected as delegates to the National People's Congress.

2. Reforms designed to eliminate discrimination

Although Chinese government projections indicate that the number of migrant workers has already peaked as a result of low-cost industries moving inland, the Ministry of Finance estimates that there will still be 124 million cross-province migrant workers in 2020.[32]  (statistics: projected number of migrant workers ) Second generation migrant workers are generally more socially and politically aware than their parents and are more likely to stand up for their rights. The duration of migrant workers’ stay in cities has also increased, suggesting that the government can no longer see them as a transient population. In Shanghai, for example, in 1993 only 6.3 percent of migrant workers stayed in the city for more than five years; in 2003, the proportion had risen to 24.3 percent.[33]  The proportion of whole family migration is expected to increase, making reform of the hukou system even more pressing.[34]

Many efforts have already been made to relax hukou restrictions. In 1993, the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security proposed replacing the urban-rural classification with a three-part classification of residency: permanent, temporary and visiting. In 2003, the State Council issued the Circular on improving the management and services to migrant workers,[35]  and in 2006 Some opinions on resolving the problems faced by migrant workers,[36]  urging local governments to abolish discriminatory measures against migrant workers and to improve their access to social services. However, institutional discrimination will not be completely eradicated until the hukou system itself is abolished.

Efforts to relax the hukou system
Permanent residency
In 1997, the State Council initiated a pilot scheme to allow certain migrant workers to transfer their hukou registration to 450 designated towns and cities.[37]  Migrants who had 1) a “stable job or source of income” and 2) a “stable place of residence” for over two years were eligible to apply to transfer their hukou from rural to non-rural status. In addition, applicants had to i) work in secondary and tertiary industries, ii) be in management or professional services, and iii) own an apartment. Successful applicants were entitled to social services on equal terms with local residents.[38]  In 2001, the State Council expanded this program to include all small towns and cities.[39]

The State Council required applicants to own an apartment but did not specify the value of the property. Very often local governments set stringent property requirements. For example, to obtain an urban hukou in Nanjing, a migrant with three family members must purchase a 60m2 apartment. In Wuxi, a migrant must purchase a 100m2 apartment or invest 1,000,000 yuan and have paid 100,000 yuan in taxes for two consecutive years in order to obtain an urban registration. [40]

Hence, instead of granting citizens the right to internal migration, in effect, the policy was more of an immigration scheme to attract investment and talent. For most migrants, an urban registration is still beyond reach. Only two percent of the two million migrants (who constitute one-third of the city's population) in Ningbo, Zhejiang province – which is considered a national model of hukou reform[41]  – and 11,000 out of 300,000 migrant workers in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province[42]  qualified for a local hukou in 2001. In Shenzhen, only highly qualified personnel or those who pay more than 240,000 yuan in taxes over three years qualify for a hukou.[43]

Temporary residency
Migrant workers who are not eligible for permanent residency are required to register as temporary residents,[44]  but they are not entitled to social services. They are, instead, required to pay various fees for using urban public facilities and services.[45]  Some provinces allow migrant workers registered as temporary residents to enjoy certain welfare services. However, this usually involves complicated registration processes.

In 2001, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance jointly promulgated a circular to abolish fees and simplify procedures for the application of temporary residency permits.[46]  The Beijing municipal government was among the first to implement this policy, and since 1 March 2002, migrant workers who applied for a temporary residency permit, in theory, only needed to pay five yuan compared with 183 yuan previously. However, this measure has not been effectively enforced so that even in 2007, workers who applied for a temporary residency in Beijing were still required to pay a number of fees totalling between 100 and 300 yuan. [47] The situation in other cities, such as Shenzhen, is similar.[48]

Unregistered population
The Opinion on stepping up the management and services for the floating population (1995) made migrants who did not register for temporary residency illegal residents. They were barred from renting property or getting a job. Unregistered migrants were subject to forced repatriation. [49] In Beijing, local regulations stipulated that anyone staying for three days or more was required to apply for a temporary residency permit. Employers could only recruit workers without a permanent hukou through designated government branches. [50] In January 2003, these restrictions were abolished with the promulgation of the State Council's Circular on the improvement of the services and management of migrant workers. According to the Circular, local governments could no longer control the recruitment practices of private enterprises, migrant workers should enjoy the same rights and status as the locals, and the forced repatriation policy should not apply to unregistered migrant workers.[51]  In March the same year, a young migrant worker named Sun Zhigang was mistakenly arrested for staying in Guangzhou without registration. Sun was beaten to death during remand awaiting repatriation.  The case evoked a public outcry and led to the official abolition of the forced repatriation system in June 2003.[52]

In July 2003, Shenyang became the first city to abolish the temporary residency permit. [53] And it was followed by other administrations in Shanghai, Wuhan,[54]  Beijing[55]  and Jinan. [56] However, these reforms have not always been effectively implemented because of the lack of complementary administrative structures and policies. For example, migrant workers who want to buy property, still need to register with the public security bureau, and are still subject to tighter scrutiny than locals.

Recognition of worker status
The promulgation of the Opinion on stepping up the management and services for the floating population in 2003 marked the beginning of a series of measures to improve the rights of migrant workers. The Opinion confirms the status of migrant workers as "workers", rather than peasants as indicated in their hukou registration, and states they must be treated as other workers, with all the rights and protections stipulated in the Labour Law. Employers must sign labour contracts with migrant workers, pay them on time and compensate them for termination of employment. It further said that if an enterprise was made bankrupt, migrant workers should be included as the primary creditors.

In response to the Opinion, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) issued its Circular on better protection for the legal rights of migrant workers, urging local trade unions to recruit migrant workers.[57]  A national campaign was launched to bring migrant workers into the union,[58]  and by early 2008, according to official figures, about half of the nation's migrant workers (62 million) had joined. [59] In 2005, Shenyang established China's first regional trade union specially for migrant workers in Luyuan. [60] By mid-June 2006, the Luyuan migrant workers trade union had more than 5,000 members.[61]  The ACFTU identifed Luyuan as a possible model for community or regional based trade unions, and in 2007 initiated a new strategy to recruit migrant workers in their hometowns and extend legal protection and social services to their place of work.[62]  This community based approach however suffers from the fact that these unions do not qualify for the two percent of payrole mandated by the Trade Union Law for unions at the enterprises level. Indeed, before Luyuan was bankrolled directly by the ACFTU, its only asset was 1,500 yuan in membership fees.[63][64]    Without the financial support of enterprises, the development of community or regional based trade unions for migrant workers will be limited.

In addition, the ACFTU continues to focus on its traditional role as welfare provider. In March 2007, for example, Union Vice-Chairman Xu Deming delivered a progress report on the work the ACFTU had done for migrant workers over the previous year. This included getting more than 30.3 million migrant workers home for the Chinese New Year using special trains and buses and group ticket purchases; securing 1.73 billion yuan in back wages for 2.65 million workers; providing financial assistance for more than 80,000 workers to allow their children to go to school; paying morale-building visits to some 1.6 million migrant workers between January 1, 2007 and the Chinese New Year in mid-February, and awarding the National May Day Labour Medal to 18 migrant workers.[65]

Claiming back wages in arrears for migrant workers has always been a top priority for the government. In October 2004, the State Council ordered local governments to pay all outstanding wages at their construction sites within three years, and urged the courts to speed up the processing of unpaid wage cases. [66] In December the same year, the Supreme Court followed this with an “emergency circular” requiring local courts to speed up the clearance rates of wages in arrears cases.[67]  In December 2007, a court in Shanghai established a dedicated office to process cases involving wages in arrears. It was reported that within half a month, it had helped workers recover 4.5 million yuan.[68]

However, wages in arrears remains a serious problem in China. [69] In 2006, nearly half, or 47 percent of the 9,386 labour rights cases in Shenzhen involved unpaid wages. In response, the local government created a database in January 2007 to log those enterprises that failed to pay wages on time,[70]  and other cities soon followed.[71]  In November 2005, the Hainan city of Sanya initiated a scheme that required construction companies to set aside and deposit sufficient funds for wages before projects began.[72]  The scheme was then duplicated in other regions, including Qinghai[73]  and Xiamen.[74]  A national network of legal aid centers was set up to provide free legal assistance for migrant workers, and as of July 2007, 40 cities had joined the network. [75] By the end of March 2008, nearly 150,000 rural migrant workers had sought aid from such centres.[76]

Other improvements
Reforms in the 1990s tended to focus on the management of migrant workers. In its preamble to its Opinion on stepping up the management and services for the floating population, the Party's Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security identified public safety, labour, traffic, family planning and other social issues as a priority for management.[77]  In the current decade, more emphasis has been placed on the rights of migrant workers, as well as on their access to social services, welfare, healthcare and education. [78] In 2003, Henan province initiated a scheme that allowed migrant workers to get medical reimbursement in their host cities, and prohibited health providers from discriminating against migrants when assessing fees. By 2007, the scheme covered 92 percent of the province.[79]  Other provinces and cities such as Wuhan,[80]  Jiangxi[81]  and Sichuan [82] initiated similar policies. Shaanxi allows the children of migrant workers to join medical insurance schemes with the government paying up 70 percent of the premium.[83]  In Shanxi, Shanghai and Heilongjiang, children of migrant workers received free vaccinations for certain diseases,[84]  as well as improved access to education. In June 2006, the Henan Higher People's Court (HPC) issued an opinion setting death or injury compensation awards for some rural migrants at the same level as long-term urban residents. The Anhui HPC issued rules stipulating that injury or death compensation for minors who hold a rural hukou but attend school and live in urban areas shall be calculated using the urban standard.[85]  Other courts and legislative bodies are considering issuing similar directives.[86]

Recent Setbacks to reform
Management of the floating population has always been a balance between the needs of economic growth and the fear of potential social instability caused by an uncontrolled influx of rural workers into the cities.[87]

In order to keep track of the movement of the migrant population, in 1986 the Ministry of Public Security set up an electronic hukou database. By 2002, almost all (more than 30,000) police stations had computerized hukou management systems. Some 1,180 cities and counties joined regional networks covering 1.07 billion people (about 83 percent of the total population), and 250 cities joined the national hukou computer network to allow for instantaneous verification of hukou information covering 650 million people (about half of the total population).[88]  In December 2004, the General Office of the Party's Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security called for the upgrading of systems used to keep track of temporary residents, including better monitoring of migrant housing rentals. The joint opinion issued by the Party Central Committee and the State Council in 2005 called for "new techniques to manage China's migrant population."[89]

As urban crime rates have increased, attempts to relax hukou restrictions have been halted or even reversed. In a survey of Beijing residents in 2005, about 65 percent thought that the municipal government should control the number of people coming into the city, especially the poor and the less educated.[90]  And 29 months after abolishing temporary residency permits, Shenyang reintroduced the system in December 2005. [91] In the fall of 2005, Shenzhen authorities announced tighter rules for migrants in an effort to control the growth rate of the temporary resident population. The new measures temporarily suspended processing of local hukou applications for the dependent children of migrant residents, limited the growth of private schools for migrant children, and required migrant parents to pay additional fees and join social insurance schemes to enroll their children in public schools.[92]  In 2006, a famous medical specialist in Guangzhou was robbed, increasing fear of crime and triggering a debate on the reinstatement of the forced repatriation policy. [93] In late 2007, the Guangdong public security bureau highlighted public safety as the most important aspect of migrant worker management.[94]

3. Conclusion

After more than a decade of reform, many restrictions on internal migration have been lifted, and the rights of migrant workers have improved. However, despite these improvements, the fundamental root of discrimination – the hukou system – is still in place. But, calls for the abolition of hukou system are getting stronger.[95]  In 2003, a proposal to reform the household registration system was submitted by 34 NPC deputies. [96] In 2005, the Ministry of Public Security drafted a policy document on household registration system reform, which was submitted to the State Council in 2007 for review. By mid-2007, more than a dozen local and regional governments, including those of Henan, Guangdong and Ningxia, had started to eliminate the rural and non-rural hukou classification and to relax the restrictions on hukou transfer. However, even in these pioneer provinces, no complementary administrative policies are in place to enforce these reforms.[97]

The hukou system was originally established to control internal migration, oversee employment and welfare allocation, and tighten surveillance. Reforms to the hukou system have lifted many restrictions on internal migration. However, the welfare system is still tied to household registration, making further reform difficult. Moreover, rising crime rates have led to calls for greater controls on, and surveillance of the floating population. Inadequate government budget allocations, fear of crime and discriminatory attitudes towards migrants remain as serious obstacles to reform.


  1. Young, Joe (2002). “Hukou reform targets rural-urban divide”, The China Business Review, 32; quoted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Topic Paper: China’s Household Registration System, available here, last updated on 26 March 2006.
  2. Zhu Qingfang, “经济社会和谐发展指标体系综合评价” (A comprehensive target system evaluation of harmonious development in an economic society), in Tuo Xin, Lu Xueyi and Li Peilin (eds). (2006). 2007 年中国社会形势分析与预测 (2007: An Analysis and Forecast of Trends in Chinese Society), Beijing: China Social Sciences Press, pp. 321-339. Quoted in CLB Research Report: Speaking Out: Workers’ Movement in China 2005-2006 p.9, available here.
  3. “Children are left behind in China”, Wall Street Journal, first published on 24 Jan 2007, available here.
  4. “第二次全国农业普查主要数据公报” (Bulletin of the findings of the second national agricultural census), promulgated on 25 February, 2008 by the National Bureau of Statistics, available at here.
  5. State Council (2006). 中国农民工调研报告 (Research report on Chinese migrant workers).  Shiyan Chubanshe, p. 3.
  6. Ibid, p. 7.
  7. 中国的民工流动现状,南方六省成为民工输出大省available here.
  8. “北京市应旗帜鲜明地加强对流动人口的管理” (Beijing municipal government should take a clear-cut stand to strengthen the control over the floating population), published on 3 January 2008, available at here.
  9. “2007年浙江省人口变动抽样调查主要数据公报” (Publication of major findings of the sampling survey on population changes in Zhejiang 2007), published in the official website of Wenzhou city, Zhejiang province, on 27 February 2008, available here.
  10. “2007深圳人口观察” (Population monitor in Shenzhen 2007), published on 21 September 2007, available here.
  11. State Council (2006). 中国农民工调研报告 (Research report on Chinese migrant workers). Shiyan Chubanshe.
  12. Ibid, p. 12.
  13. Ibid, p. 13.
  14. “加强安全生产监督管理,促进非公有制经济的健康发展” (Strengthening the supervision and management of production safety; promoting the healthy growth of non-government economic sector), published in the official website of the National Safety Production Supervisor Bureau on 10 April 2004, available here
  15. Ge, Y.H, et al (2005).”Prevalence and prevention of occupational diseases of migrant workers”, Industrial Heath and Occupation Diseases, 31(4): 259.
  16. “外来工健康状况调查:为生计透支未来” (A survey on the health of migrant workers: mortgaging their future health), published in 南方周末 (Nanfang Weekend) on 3 April 2008, , available at here.
  17. “2006年全国职业病报告情况和职业病危害形势” (A report on the prevalence and damage of occupational diseases in China 2006), published on the Chinese Cetnre for Disease Control and Prevention website on 29 April 2007, available here
  18.  “外来工健康状况调查:为生计透支未来” (A survey on the health of migrant workers: mortgaging their future health), op. cit.
  19. State Council (2006). 中国农民工调研报告 (Research report on Chinese migrant workers). Shiyan Chubanshe, p. 115.
  20. Ibid, p. 276.
  21. Zhang, L. & Zhao, S. (2003). “Self-help in housing and chengzhongcun in China's urbanization”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 27(4): 912-937.
  22. “广州“城中村”改造拉开帷幕 猎德村10月拆除” (The curtain of redeveloping “urban villages” in Guangzhou has been lifted; LaDe Village will be demolished in October), published in 金羊网 (Golden Sheep Net) on 25 June 2007, available here.
  23. Zhang, L. & Zhao, S. (2003). “Self-help in housing and chengzhongcun in China's urbanization”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 27(4): 912-937.
  24. “21世纪资本市场下的’血汗工厂’” (Sweat shops in the 21st century capitalism), published in 世界商业报道 (World Business Report) on 30th November 2007, available at here.
  25. Amnesty International Report 1 March 2007: China: Internal Migrants: Discrimination and Abuse. The Human Cost of an Economic 'Miracle', available  here.
  26. “粤孕产妇死亡率为瑞典10倍 流动人口占八成” (The maternal mortality rate in Guangdong is ten times of that in Sweden; 80 percent of deaths were migrant mothers), published in南方都市报 (Nanfang Metro Daily) on 3 September 2007, available here.
  27. “外来工健康状况调查:为生计透支未来” (A survey on the health of migrant workers: mortgaging their future health), op. cit.
  28. Ding, J.H. et al (2001). “Characteristics and social control of crimes committed by shanghai floating population”, Population Research 25(6): 53-58.
  29. “秦希燕代表:统一赔偿标准避免同命不同价让” (Representative Qin Xiyan: standardizing the compensation amount to avoid “same life, different compensation”), China Youth Daily available here.
  30. “期待农民不再是权利旁听生” (Hoping that rural migrant workers will no longer be the 'observers' of their rights), first published in the Economic Times, republished in People's Daily (Online) on17 January 2006. Quoted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006, available here.
  31. “外来工健康状况调查:为生计透支未来” (A survey on the health of migrant workers: mortgaging their future health), op. cit.
  32. State Council (2006). 中国农民工调研报告 (Research Report on Chinese migrant workers). Shiyan Chubanshe, p. 85.
  33. Ren, Yuen (2006). “逐步沉淀”与“居留决定居留” ———上海市外来人口居留模式分析(Gradually settling down” and “The decision to settle down is depending on the  rights of abode” – analyses on the pattern of internal migration in Shanghai). 中国人口科学(Population science of China), 3:67-96.
  34. “中国农民工调研:融入城市 追求平等 期盼未来” (Survey on China’s migrant workers: integrating into cities, striving for equality, looking forward to the future ), available at 新华网 (New China Net) on 1 May 2006.
  35. “国务院办公厅关于做好农民进城务工就业管理和服务工作的通知” (Circular on the improvement of the services and management of migrant workers) issued by the State Council on 5 Jan 2003, available here.
  36. “国务院关于解决农民工问题的若干意见” (Some opinions on resolving the problems faced by migrant workers), issued by the State Council on 31 Jan 2006, available here.
  37. Chan, K.W. & Zhang, L. (1999). “The Hukou system and rural-urban migration in China: Processes and changes”, China Quarterly, 160: 818-855.
  38. “国务院批转公安部小城镇户籍管理制度改革试点方案和关于完善农村户籍管理意见的通知” (A State Council’s notice on approving the Public Security Bureau’s pilot scheme to reform the household registration system in small towns), issued on 10 June 1997, available here.
  39. “国务院批转公安部关于推进小城镇户籍管理制度改革意见的通知” (State Council notice on approving the Public Security Bureau’s opinions on promoting reform on the management of household registration system in small towns and cities], issued 30 March 2001, available here.
  40. Nielsen, I., Nyland, C., Smyth, R. & Zhang, M.Q. (2007). "Migration and the right to social security: Perceptions of off-farm migrants' rights to social insurance in China's Jiangsu Province," China & World Economy, 15(2):29-43.
  41. Ma, J. (2001), "Farmers turn noses up at life in the city," South China Morning Post, 17 October 2001. Quoted in Fei-Ling Wang’s testimony to CECC, China's Household Registration (Hukou) System: Discrimination and Reform, 2 September 2005, available here.
  42. “三万农民领到城市户口,宁波户籍壁垒轰然拆除” (Thirty thousand migrant workers will obtain an urban household status, the hukou barriers collapse in a loud bang), , published in南方周末 (Nanfang Weekend) on August 30, 2001, available here. Quoted in Fei-Ling Wang’s testimony to CECC, ibid.
  43. 暂住证将变居住证 三年纳个税24万可入深圳户口 (Temporary residency permits will be replaced by residency permit: people who paid accumulatively more than 240,000 in tax in the last three years are qualified as regular residents), published in 深圳新闻网 (Shenzhen News Net) on 5 August 2005, available here.
  44. “中央社会治安综合治理委员会关于加强流动人口管理工作的意见” (Opinion on stepping up the management and services for the floating population), issued by the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security, on 9 September 1995, available here.
  45. The most common types of fees include: temporary residency (暂住费); management for floating population (暂住(流动)人口管理费); labour force regulation (劳动力调节费); family planning (计划生育管理费); urban infrastructure (城市增容费); management cost for non-locals working or doing businesses in the city (外地务工经商人员管理服务费), and management cost for non-local construction enterprises (外地(外省)建筑(施工)企业管理费).”国家计委、财政部关于全面清理整顿外出或外来务工人员收费的通知” (A circular jointly published by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance on clearing up assorted fees levying on incoming or outgoing migrant workers), available here
  46. “国家计委、财政部关于全面清理整顿外出或外来务工人员收费的通知” (A circular jointly published by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance on clearing up assorted fees levying on incoming or outgoing migrant workers), issued on 30 October 2001, available here.
  47. “记者暗访京城﹕暂住证收费乱办证难管理乱” (A journalist’s investigation in Beijing: The procedures for the application of a temporary residency permit is chaotic; types of application fee are confusing), published in生活时报 (Lifestyles) on 28 October 2002, available here.
  48. “深圳:暂住证背后的利益纷争”(Shenzhen: conflicts of different interested parties behind the temporary residency permit”, 南方周末Nanfang Weekend 25 July 2002, available here
  49. <中央社会治安综合治理委员会关于加强流动人口管理工作的意见> (Opinion on stepping up the management and services for the floating population), issued by the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security on 19 September 1995, available here.
  50. “北京市外地来京务工经商人员管理条例” (Regulation of the management of people coming to Beijing for work and for business), issued by the Beijing Municipal Peoples Congress on 4 April 1995, amended on 4 June 1997, available here
  51. “国务院办公厅关于做好农民进城务工就业管理和服务工作的通知” (Circular on the improvement of the services and management of migrant workers), issued by the State Council on 5 Jan 2003, available here.
  52. “城市生活无着的流浪乞讨人员救助管理办法” (The assistance and management measures of beggars and homeless people living in cities), issued by the State Council on 20 June 2003, available here.
  53. “沈阳将启用新“暂住证”取消暂住证29月后恢复” (Shenyang will reinstate the temporary residency permit policy after 29 months of abolishing the system), published in 华商晨报 (China Business Morning Post)on 14 December 2005, available here.
  54. 特别策划:“暂住证”改革可别“换汤不换药”(Special policy planning: Be careful not to turn the reform of the temporary residency permit into something as old wine in a new bottle), published on 13 Oct 2006, available here.
  55. “北京外来人员管理条例拟废止 暂住证制度仍有效” (Regulations on the management of visitors to Beijing will be repealed, but the temporary residency permit system still applies ), published in 新京报 (New Beijing Daily) on 26 Jan 2007, available here
  56. “济南废止外来务工人员管理条例” (Jinan abolishes the Regulation on the management of migrant workers), published in 人民网(People’s Net) on 28 March 2005, available at here.
  57. “关于切实做好维护进城务工人员合法权益工作的通知”(Circular on the protection of the legal rights of migrant workers), issued by the ACFTU on 9 August 2003, available here; “全国总工会拉农民工入会 拟建长效维权机制” (ACFTU encourages migrant workers to join trade unions, and plans to establish an effective rights protection mechanism), issued on 27 June 2007, available here.
  58. Migrant workers are allowed to join trade unions in 1) their employing units; 2) employment services agencies; 3) their hometowns. “中华全国总工会关于组织各种所有制企业、事业及机关的劳务工加入工会的通知” (A circular on promoting membership in enterprises of different ownership, sectors and government branches ), issued by ACFTU on 2 March 2005, available here.
  59. “农民工工会会员年底将达到七千万人” (The number of unionized migrant workers will reach 70 million by the end of this year), published in中国新闻网 (China News Network) on 14 March 2008, available here
  60. Meng Wei and Liu Zihui (2006).  “从鲁园农民工工会维权看农民工工会维权现状、困境及对策” (Using the experiences of the Luyuan migrant workers trade union in protecting the rights of migrant workers to examine the current situation, and difficulties and responses of these trade unions), Journal of Liaoning technical university (Social Science edition) 8(6): 611-613.
  61. Ibid.
  62. “兰州为农民工工会会员发放医疗优惠证”(Lanzhou is issuing medical discount cards for unionized migrant workers), pubished in新华网 (New China Net) on 4 April 2007, available at  here.
  63. Meng Wei and Liu Zihui (2006).  “从鲁园农民工工会维权看农民工工会维权现状、困境及对策” (Using the experiences of the Luyuan migrant workers trade union in protecting the rights of migrant workers to examine the current situation, and difficulties and responses of these trade unions), Journal of LiaoningTechnical University (Social Science edition) 8(6): 611-613.
  64.  “每年拨款10万元 鲁园农民工工会不再’缺血’” (Getting 100 000 yuan annually, Luyuan migrant workers trade union will not be short of ‘blood’ again), published in东北新闻网 (Tungbei News Network) on 17 March 2006.
  65. “中国工会2006年为农民工办‘十件实事’” (China’s Union Does Ten Things for Migrant Workers in 2006), 中国网 ( website, March 12, 2007.
  66. “国务院办公厅转发建设部等部门关于进一步解决建设领域拖欠工程款问题意见的通知” (A circular to the Ministry of Construction and other departments on further resolving the problem of unpaid wages in the construction industry), issued by the State Council on 29 October 2004, available here
  67. “最高人民法院关于集中清理拖欠工程款和农民工工资案件的紧急通知” (An emergency circular on speeding up to process cases involving delayed payment of construction projects and delayed wages), issued by the Supreme Court on 21 December 2004, available here.
  68. “上海农民工代表年前拿到200万拖欠工资款” (Migrant workers in Shanghai got back 2 million yuan in unpaid wages before New Year), published in Zhongguang Wang on 7th January 2008.
  69.  "300万元欠薪暴露工程承包’潜规则’” (The 3 million yuan in wage arrears has exposed the ‘latent rules’ of the subcontracting system in the construction sector), published on Economic Daily on 25 Jan. 2008; available at Renmin Wang; “资低不堪重负 一男子跳楼自杀却奇迹生还” (A man pressurized by low wages survived attempted suicide by jumping from a height), published in Zhongguo Xinwen Wang on 27 Dec. 2007; available here; “河北包工头讨薪未果自杀” (A subcontractor committed suicide after he failed to get unpaid wage from the contractor), published in Dajiang Wang on 22 July 2007; available here; “中国评论﹕封杀企业 难禁欠薪” (Comment on China: Black listing enterprises would not eradicate unpaid wages), published on Xinlang Wang on 24 Jan. 2008, available here.
  70. “深圳率先将企业欠薪信息纳入全国征信系统” (Shenzhen is the first city to input the data of enterprises involved in unpaid wages to the national credit system), published in Shenzhen Business News on 10 January 2007, available here.
  71. “青海:8家欠薪企业被通报批评” (Qinghai: Eight enterprises that failed to pay wages on time are named and shamed), published in 中国工程建设信息网(China Engineering Information Network) on 21 March 2007, available here.
  72. “三亚市建筑领域农民工工资保证金制度实施办法” (Implementing measures for the wage payment deposit system for migrant workers in the construction sector in Sanya), issued on 17 November 2005, available at 劳动仲裁网点(Labour Arbitration Net) .
  73. “青海省建设领域农民工工资支付保证金制度实施办法(试行)” (Implementing measures for the wage payment deposit system for migrant workers in the construction sector in Qinghai [Trial Measures]), issued on 1 October 2006, available here.
  74. “为农民工血汗钱上保险,我市建立企业工资保证金制度” (To protect the sweat and blood of migrant workers, our city is setting up a wage payment deposit system), published on 26 January, 2008, available at the Xiamen municipal government website here.
  75. “35座城市签署《重庆协议》结盟为异地民工维权” (35 cities have signed the “Chongqing Pact” to form a cross-regional network for the protection of the legal rights of migrant workers), published in中国广播网 (China Broadcasting Net) on 4 July 2007, available here.
  76. “Legal aid offices help migrant workers pursue rights”, published in Xinhua.Net on 3 May 2008, available at here.
  77. “中央社会治安综合治理委员会关于加强流动人口管理工作的意见” (The Opinion on stepping up the management and services for the floating population), issued by the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security on 9 September 1995, available here.
  78. “国务院办公厅关于做好农民进城务工就业管理和服务工作的通知” (Circular on the improvement of the services and management of migrant workers), issued by the State Council on 5 Jan 2003, available here; <国务院办公厅关于进一步做好改善农民进城就业环境工作的通知> (Circular on further improving the employment situation of migrant workers), issued by the General Office, the State Council) on 27 Dec 2004, available here; <国务院关于解决农民工问题的若干意见> (Some opinions of the State Council on resolving the problems faced by migrant workers), issued on 31 January 2006, available here.
  79. “河南农民工看病可在打工地报销,新规将实施” (New regulations will be introduced: Henan migrant workers will get reimbursement for medical expenses in the cities they are working in), published on 中国中部崛起网 (Mid China Net), available here.
  80. “武汉推行“新农合直补”新政 农民进城看病可报销” (Wuhan has introduced a new policy: migrant workers will be subsidized for seeking medical treatment in the city), published in 荆楚网 (Hubei Net) on 14 March 2008, available here.
  81. “江西全面推广新农合医疗直补” (Jiangxi will introduce a new scheme to subsidize migrant workers who seek medical treatment in designated medical centres), published in 江西日报 (Jiangxi Daily) on 18 August 2007, available here .
  82. “200万川籍农民工在京看病可报销的探索” (Examining the policy that enables 2 million migrant workers from Sichuan to get reimbursement for medical expense in Beijing), published in工人日报 (Workers Daily) on 9 April 2008, available here.
  83. “西安进城农民工子女每年缴纳30元可享受医保” (Children of migrant workers will be covered by medical insurance in Xi’an by paying an annual premium of only 30 yuan), published in阳光报 (Sunshine Daily) on 5 December 2007, available here.
  84. “山西农民工子女也可免费接种免疫规划疫苗了” (Children of migrant workers in Shanxi are given free vaccinations), published in 医药网(PharmNet) on 18 June 2007; “黑龙江农民工子女可与常住儿童一样免费打疫苗” (Children workers in Heilongqiang are entitled to the same free vaccinations as local children), published on Heilongjiang provincial government website on 13 November 2006, available at here ; “上海流动人口儿童将享受免费疫苗接种” (Children of the floating population in Shanghai will be entitled to free vaccinations”,published on 26 April 2006, in the Chinese government official website, available here.
  85. “人身损害赔偿"同命不同价"拷问法律公平” (Putting legal equality into test: the phenomena of 'same fate, different price' in personal injury cases), published in 四川日报 (Sichuan Daily) on 21 April 2006, reprinted in Sichuan Online, available here .Quoted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006
  86. Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006 Ibid.
  87. “公安部 : 逐步解决城市有稳定职业流动人口户籍问题” (Public security bureau: gradually to solve the problem of household registration of floating population who have a stable job), published on the Public Security Bureau website on 21 November 2007, available at here
  88. Wang, Feiling (2004). "Reform migration control and new targeted people: China's hukou system in the 2000s", China Quarterly 177: 115-132.
  89. See Sun Chunying, “县(市区) 委创建平安重点” (County [city, district] create public safety key points), available in Ministry of Justice (Online) on 6 December 2005. Quoted in the Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report 2006. Op. cit.
  90. “别拿“学历”做进京门槛” (Don’t make “educational attainment’ the threshold of entering Beijing), published on 22 July 2005, available at 新闻中心(News Centre) .
  91. “沈阳将启用新“暂住证”取消暂住证29月后恢复” (Shenyang will reinstate the temporary residency permit policy after 29 months of abolishing the system), published in 华商晨报 (China Business Morning Post)on 14 December 2005, available here.
  92. “人口总量逼近承载力极限 深圳将控制外来人口" (Population is approaching its limit; Shenzhen will limit the number of migrant population), published in中国人口网(China Population) on 1 August 2005, available here.
  93. <"孙志刚事件”三年后:外来人口管理何去何从> (Whither the floating population management policies: three years after the Sun Zhigang incident), published in新华网(New China Net) on 15 September 2006, available here; “特刊:废除’收容遣送制度’没有回头路” (The abolition of the detention and repatriation system can not be undone), published in新华网(New China Net) on 15 September 2006, available here.
  94. 贯彻落实十七大精神 加强流动人口登记管理” (Implementing the spirit of the 17th NPC, strengthening the registration system of the floating population), published in the official website of Guangdong Police on 30 November 2007, available here.
  95. “五十年积弊亟待清理,户籍改革正在破冰” (Clearing up the problems that have accumulated for 50 years; reforms on the household registration system are breaking through), published on湖南红网 (Hunan Red Net) on 5 May 2007, available here.
  96. “我国户籍管理制度存三大弊端 将制定新户籍法” (The household registration management system of our country has three weaknesses; a new household registration law will be drafted), 中国青年报 (China Youth Daily) on 24 February 2005, available here
  97. “中国户籍改革受阻‘深水区’” (The ‘deep water zone’ of China’s household registration system reform) published in瞭望 (Observation) on 8 January 2007, available here.