CHINA> Regional
Migrants return home after job layoffs, land reform
Updated: 2008-11-21 20:33

GUANGZHOU - Many migrant workers in south China's Guangdong Province returned to their home provinces in the wake of the global financial crisis. But it is not the only reason, officials of the local labor and railway authorities said.

China's latest decision to expand transfers of land-use rights held by farmers also attracted some migrant workers to rush home.

Liu Hong, a farmer of Sichuan, was waiting for a home-bound train with his wife at Guangzhou Railway Station this week.

"We need to finish some sub-lease documents and come back to work as soon as possible," he said.

The trip was made after China issued a breakthrough rural policy last month, allowing farmers to lease their contracted farmland or transfer their land use right, which will give farmers opportunities to conduct scale management and new business operations.

In the past, farmland was collectively owned, but meted out to farmers in small plots on long term leasing contracts.

The couple worked in a clothes company in Guangzhou's Xintang Township, earning about 2,000 yuan (US$292.8) a month.

"Our income is dropping, but we still can survive on it in the city," Liu said.

The third reason for the departure of migrant workers was the severe snow and rain storms that paralyzed massive rail, air and road service early this year. Millions of people were stranded from getting home for family reunions during the lunar Chinese New Year period starting on February 9, said Yin Zhongmin, head of the Guangzhou Railway Station on the north-south Beijing-Guangzhou rail trunk route.

Those who missed the annual opportunity of family reunions last lunar year are choosing to spend more time with family members and return home earlier than usual, even two months before the Spring Festival which falls in late January, 2009.

Yang Bin was about to get onboard a train to his hometown of Chongqing Municipality a few days ago.

"I didn't go home last year and I missed my wife and parents so much," he said at the station.

Yang worked in a furniture plant in Dayong Township of Zhongshan City, Guangdong, with a monthly income of more than 2,000 yuan.

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