Opinion / From the Press

Plight of rural job-seekers must not be ignored

( Updated: 2012-12-07 21:26

Two local law firms are seeking further information on the death of a rural job-hunter found dead under a highway overpass in Zhengzhou, Henan province, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

One week after the man was found debate is raging over whether sufficient efforts were made to rescue him.

On Wednesday, the two law firms asked for an explanation from the local civil affairs bureau.

While the circumstances surrounding the man's death remain unclear, the bureau and the local rescue station have shed little light on the case. The latter refused an interview, while the former said it is "meaningless to discuss a past event".

Every effort has to be made to rescue people in such circumstances. They deserve dignity and equal social treatment.

The first step towards achieving this is to improve the rescue and management system and establish a comprehensive social rescue system including grassroots non-governmental organisations.

People like the man who died want jobs, worry about wage arrears, live frugally and save as much as they can for their children's education. They urgently need not only sufficient rescue efforts, but also access to medical treatment, education and social security.

After the case was reported, many people and NGOs voluntarily bought and sent quilts and warm clothing to those sheltering beneath overpasses.

But what such people need most — finding work — remains elusive. One rural worker even pleaded with a reporter to publicize his phone number in an attempt to find work. Others say they are willing to do part-time work so they can get paid on a daily basis, avoiding the risk of falling into arrears on payments.

In view of this, it is high time for us to make an effort to offer such people proper rescue services, as well as giving them hope and strength to find a better life.

Rural workers have made significant contributions to China's historic economic and social transformation, have served as an engine for the country's industrialization and urbanization, and are also a great driving force for urban-rural dual-system reform. They have witnessed China's economic surge, but their prospects remain a challenge for the nation on its road to further prosperity.

Helping the weak and poor to prevent them from becoming weaker and poorer is the bottom line of any society with equity and justice. Though great efforts have been made in ensuring equality between rural workers and urban residents, such as on pay levels and voting rights, there are still clear differences in the major social services like education, medical treatment and social security, offered to the two groups.

The country's first rural workers' museum opened in Guangzhou before National Day, an achievement deserving applause.

Rural workers have made a significant contribution, and continue to do so. We must pay more attention and care to those still having to take shelter beneath highway overpasses, in subway passages and corners in department stores.

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