China's migrant workers now surpass 200 million. Last year, their hard labor contributed to an 8 percent economic growth, but their voices are not often heard. Zhu Xueqin used to be one of them, and now as an NPC deputy, she fights for their rights at the legislature. This year, Zhu vows to put forward more motions and suggestions on their behalf.
For the March 5 in a row, Zhu travels to the Great Hall of the People.
It's a familiar sight, but she now has a different understanding.
If she started out is excitement, Zhu now comes with confidence and a clear target.
Zhu said, "I'm one of the three migrant workers deputies at the NPC. I carry the hopes and expectations of 4 million migrant workers in Shanghai. I will continue to push for policies for this group."
China's second generation of migrant workers, who were born in the late 80s or early 90s, are more involved in city life than their parents. But they still face cultural and systematic barriers to fitting in. Many fail to find a spouse, or have to live away from them when working in the city. The loneliness leads to rising divorce rates, or even suicide attempts.
Zhu's motion this year addresses just that. And her findings echo what the migrant workers are saying here in a Beijing dental office.
Zhu said, "Would you like to stay in Beijing or go back to your hometown?"
A migrant worker said, "Beijing is a good place to learn skills, but I will go back to Sichuan where I can be with my family."
Zhu asked, "Would you like your child to go to school and take the college entrance exam in Beijing?"
Migrant worker Li Jianyuan said, "I had the thought, but it's hard to realize. After all, what I earn can never reach the cost of living in Beijing."
"Most of the new generation of migrant workers are only children. They are fragile and sensitive, and need more psychological support. If there were a consultancy service, last year's tragedy in Foxconn could never have happened. My motion calls for more involvement from the government and social organizations," Zhu said.
Over the years, Zhu has submitted over a dozen suggestions and one motion. The topics range from vocational education to household registration reform, from education to payment in arrears, all for migrant workers.
As the 11th NPC comes to its last plenary session, Zhu hopes for more fresh faces to carry on the job.
"I'm expecting to see more migrant workers from all walks of society as deputies in the 12th NPC next year," Zhu said.
(CNTV.cn March 5, 2012)