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More choose to return to work, live in Sichuan

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-02 11:06

The influx of coastal Chinese and foreign firms has created huge job opportunities.

Mei Lan, a middle-aged woman from Pixian county, Sichuan, works on the assembly line of an electronic equipment producer in Xiamen, Fujian province.

But her sister has returned to their home county and works with Texas Instruments Inc, the US semiconductor design and manufacturing company, at a factory that can be reached by motorcycle from their home village.

"As wages are almost the same in my plant in Xiamen and Texas Instruments in my hometown, I plan to return," Mei said.

According to the Sichuan Daily, the divorce rate in some rural areas is higher than in urban areas as many husbands or wives work away as migrant workers.

In some townships, the divorce rate of some migrant workers is as high as 50 percent.

In 1993, Liu Daoqun, a young woman villager in Xinzheng village, Luzhou city in Sichuan, went to Guangdong working as a waitress in restaurants.

In 2008, Liu returned and got permission to manage 16 hectares of barren land in her home village for 50 years.

She invested about 300,000 yuan to plant bamboo and build a road. Now she earns more than 60,000 yuan a year selling bamboo as building materials.

As more and more land has been lost to urbanization, vegetables and fruit are getting expensive, and many farmers like Liu are returning to the land, to earn a living from planting cash crops.

Ren Jun, an official with the Sichuan provincial employment service center, said it is now hard to persuade people to work outside of Sichuan.

In charge of labor export since the early 1990s, Ren said back then an ordinary worker in Sichuan earned between 500 and 600 a month, while a counterpart in a coastal area earned around 1,400 yuan.

Now, the wage gap has narrowed dramatically and coastal areas have lost much of their appeal, he said.

Liu Huiping, an official in Zhugao town, Jintang, who sent Wang Hongqiong to Guangdong in 1998, still remembers the slogan prevalent at that time that said sending a migrant worker somewhere in the country meant poverty alleviation for one household, and that sending one abroad meant a comfortable lifestyle for the household.

But all the employment agencies in her town were closed in 2009 as fewer people in the county chose to work away from home, Liu said.

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