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   Beijing completing census on migrant workers - 1997
       THE first census of migrants in Beijing is finishing up over
the  weekend as planned.
       It is the capital's latest effort in seeking an answer to
the controversial problem of transient workers.
       The official one-by-one count of those who are not permanent
city residents is the first of its kind in China. Started on
November 1st, it ended on last.
       Results of the census, including the total number,
distribution, education and working conditions of the transient
population, will be made public by the end of this year, said Gu
Yanzhou, vice-director of the migrant census office, who is also
vice-director of Beijing Statistics Bureau.
       The outcome will offer a scientific basis for revising
policies on Beijing's transient population next year. The new
regulations promise stricter control and better service, Gu noted.
       Beijing has witnessed an increasing army of out-of-town
workers since the 1980s, when China's peasants were becoming less
firmly tied to the land and many felt they didn't have that much
farming work due to mechanization.
       Statistics indicates that approximately 40 per cent of the
out-of-town workers are engaged in construction. The rest of them
are serving as security guards, baby sitters and vendors.

       One-third of retail sales are conducted by non-Beijing
       Stories have been seen in local newspapers about the
transient workers who have done a lot of urban construction and
facilitated people's lives. Complaints have been received about
migrants cramming the already crowded city and contributing to the
crime rate.
       The municipal government has formulated a series of
regulations on migrant housing, work and doing business. Training
courses have been organized for transient workers.
       The local residents seem to have been caught by a kind of
conflicting feeling toward the transient workers, Li said.
       According to Wu Yuming, a 29 year-old transient worker,
out-of-town workers living in the capital face many hard decisions.
       Wu has been fixing watches in a rented stand at Shatan for
nine years. Most of the young men in his home town -- Putian, a
city of Fujian Province, have ventured out to seek their fortunes.
       "I will be looked down upon if I remain at home, which is
certainly more comfortable than here," Wu said.
       He has recently sent his son back to Putian for an
education, because schooling in Beijing is too expensive, Wu said.
       "I have to bear being apart from my sons and I hope they
will soon grow up and come to visit me during vacations," he said.
       _Date: 11/14/97_
       _Author: Huang Ying_
       _Copyright© by China Daily_