Wed, Dec 20, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Guangzhou ponders limiting number of migrants

AFP , BEIJING

The capital of China's booming Guangdong Province is considering capping the number of migrant workers in the city to curb crime, the China Daily said yesterday.

Migrant workers were involved in roughly 85 percent of crimes reported over the last five years in Guangzhou, the paper eported.

"Public security in Guangzhou is the worst in China's big cities," the paper quoted Su Baoling, a local politician who supports the limits, as saying.

"Guangzhou has long suffered from a poor public security situation because of burglary, robbery, theft and many other crimes, many of them committed by the migrant population," Su said.

Migrant families are also a burden on the city's social services, the paper said.

It said there are 5 million migrant workers in Guangzhou.

The proposal to limit the number of migrant workers seeks to restrict the amount of industries allowed to hire such people, the paper said.

Guangdong Province had up to 30 million registered migrant workers early last year, with another 10 million looking for work there, local officials said.

Beijing has largely supported an unprecedented urban growth process as an inevitable consequence of economic growth and a key element in maintaining a vast pool of cheap labor.

Up to 150 million agricultural workers, mostly from the interior, are seeking better livelihoods in the cities and coastal regions. Officials say that number could more than double over the next 15 years.

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