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Wen encourages self-employment among the jobless
Updated: 2009-02-28 16:05

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Saturday showed his concern over the country's jobless migrant workers and other unemployed people and encouraged them to start self-employment.

Wen said he had been deeply concerned over the employment issue, including those of migrant workers, college graduates and jobless urban families.

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He was in response to a netizen's question on-line saying "as one member of the migrant labor force I felt very difficult to find jobs when the financial woes unfolded." The netizen said he hoped to start his own business via small loans which could be repayed in three or five years.

"Your requirement is reasonable," he said while chatting with netizens at the central government website (

"Employment is not only related to one's livelihood but also one's dignity," Wen said.

Migrant workers were a special social group born in China's social transition after the initiation of the reform and opening-up policy.

Earlier official figures show about 15.3 percent of the 130 million migrant workers had returned jobless from cities to the countryside against the backdrop of the global economic downturn.

Wen said he acknowledged that the statistics were not quite accurate as some people believed the number of laid-off migrant workers amounted to 20 million and others said the number was about 12 million.

"We do not want to comment the accuracy of the statistics at the moment. The fact is that the financial crisis has caused a huge impact on migrant workers," he said.

As a saying goes "a city fire causes calamity to pond fish", Wen said migrant workers bore the most severe impact of the financial woes.

He said migrant workers did not have much complaint over the government and quietly returned to their hometowns, "some engaging in farming again, others still seeking jobs."

Wen said the government should encourage them to start their own business by offering tax stimulus and training opportunities.

China's State Council, or the cabinet, issued a notice on February 10 that urged governments at all levels to make every possible effort to expand employment.

"I want to take the opportunity to extend my gratitude to our migrant workers," he said, adding they had made great contribution to the nation.

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