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2. We worked to ensure and improve the people's wellbeing.
We listened to and deliberated reports on building and managing low-income urban housing and on implementing the National Medium- and Long-Term Plan for Education Reform and Development. Members of the Standing Committee stated that we need to fully carry out decisions and arrangements of the central leadership; stay rooted in China's specific conditions; reasonably determine the extent, forms, and standards of low-income housing; fully consider the ability of governments at all levels to bear the costs; strictly differentiate low-income housing from housing with better conditions; and establish a sound mechanism to oversee the distribution and management of low-income housing on the basis of a full investigation of current housing conditions in China, in order to ensure that the low-income housing projects genuinely benefit low-income people with housing difficulties. Members of the Standing Committee also stressed the need to ensure that government spending on education accounts for 4% of China's GDP in 2012, and with the focus on deepening reform of the education system, provide a well-rounded education to all students; cultivate students' creativity; promote educational equality; direct more public education resources toward rural, poor, and ethnic minority areas; and guarantee equal access to compulsory education for the children of rural migrant workers in cities.
We carried out the second round of investigations on the enforcement of the Labor Contract Law and the Food Safety Law, which promoted effective implementation of these laws. Results of investigations showed that the number of labor contracts signed in 2011 increased substantially, with 97% of employees of large enterprises nationwide signing labor contracts. Collective bargaining for wages was carried out in an orderly manner, and 114 million employees were covered in 2011 by collective contracts, an increase of 76.5% over 2007. A national mechanism for comprehensively coordinating efforts to ensure food safety began to take shape, and the government's capacity to monitor and give early warnings on food safety risks was enhanced. Relevant authorities conducted campaigns to stop the illegal use and misuse of food additives and clenobuterol hydrochloride, and they investigated a number of prominent cases and brought the perpetrators to justice. While fully affirming the practice of sending workers overseas, members of the Standing Committee pointed out that there still existed serious problems of abuses of power in implementation. They proposed that we promptly revise and improve relevant laws and regulations, specify the eligibility conditions for sending workers overseas in greater detail, strengthen oversight and supervision of organizations sending and receiving overseas workers, and guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of workers sent abroad such as their remuneration and social security benefits. Standing Committee members stressed that the key to solving serious problems in food safety is to effectively raise food producers' awareness of the law to ensure strict self-discipline and lawful and honest business practices on their part; effectively improve food safety oversight and supervision; and make sure that responsibilities are clear, oversight personnel do their jobs scrupulously, and the law is strictly enforced. The Standing Committee investigated enforcement of the Law Guaranteeing the Rights and Interests of Senior Citizens, and stressed the need to understand and plan our work related to elderly people from a strategic standpoint, actively build a system of services for the elderly, effectively protect their legitimate rights and interests, and follow a path of developing services for them that is suited to China's conditions. The Standing Committee also listened to and deliberated the State Council's report on fire prevention.