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President urges boost for farmers' incomes
( 2003-12-17 00:42) (China Daily)

President Hu Jintao urged more efforts to boost farmers' income and speed up economic development in rural areas.

Hu made the remarks during an inspection tour of Shandong and Henan provinces between December 12 and yesterday.

He urged local officials to work harder to improve farmers' living conditions.

The six-day trip took the president to farm fields, construction sites, factory workshops and rural households.

Hu talked with local provincial officials on the development of local agriculture and said a strategic restructuring of the agricultural economy, fee-to-tax reform and increased investment in agriculture are top priorities.

He stressed that surplus labour in the countryside should be encouraged to move to towns and cities to find jobs.

At the same time, he said, discriminatory policies against migrant workers in urban areas should be wiped out.

Also, he said an inspection of owed back payments for migrant workers will be carried out and employers who deliberately withdraw or withhold migrant worker's wages will be punished in accordance with the laws

President Hu also visited Dongming in Shandong and Lankao in Henan, where the villagers suffered through severe floods for a few months.

He told local governments to provide enough food and clothes and adequate shelter to flood victims, and to help with rehabilitation projects and preparations for spring planting.

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