Cablegate: Guangdong's Migrant Worker Npc Delegate: Looking For
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0135 0640820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040820Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6947
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS GUANGZHOU 000135
STATE FOR EAP/CM, DRL, INR/B
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB PINR PGOV CH
SUBJECT: Guangdong's Migrant Worker NPC Delegate: Looking for
REF: Guangzhou 27
1. (U) Social security, education for migrant workers' children and
the welfare of migrant workers in general are critical issues for
South China's workers, according to Guangdong's migrant worker
representative to the National People's Congress (NPC) Hu Xiaoyan.
Hu, who was not among the original six migrant workers elected to
the Guangdong People's Congress (reftel), told the Consul General
February 28 that she would "try [her] best" to represent Guangdong's
30 million migrant laborers and that she appreciated the trust
placed in her by the government.
"Things Always Change Faster than You Plan"
2. (U) With only a short period of training in Zhuhai and no staff
to help her prepare for the NPC in Beijing, Hu understandably
appeared somewhat overwhelmed by her new assignment. Hu said she
did not have a plan for her five-year term because "things always
change faster than you plan," though she did intend to "work
closely" with the other two NPC migrant delegates (from Shanghai and
Chongqing, according to Xinhua) to promote migrant workers'
equities. Throughout the meeting, Hu generally resorted to talking
points in response to substantive questions.
3. (U) Comment: The appointment of Hu and two other migrant worker
representatives to the NPC is a start -- perhaps more cosmetic than
substantive -- in addressing the needs of China's floating labor
population. Although government media have celebrated the way she
"often stays up late to collect requests and suggestions of fellow
migrant workers," Hu told us that as of late February no workers
from her company had approached her to discuss issues for
representation. Indeed, though Hu said she welcomed input from
workers by phone, email, letter, or through the trade union, the
extent of actual exchange was unclear.
4. (U) Hu Xiaoyan, 34, hails from Guang'an, Sichuan Province, (Deng
Xiaoping's hometown and perhaps a symbolic reason for her selection)
where she worked as a farmer before coming to Guangdong Province in
1998. Although Hu only has a middle-school education, she has
proven herself an able worker and currently serves as a Deputy
Supervisor at the Xin Ming Zhu (New Pearl) Ceramic Industrial
Company, located in Foshan, where she was named one of the city's
"Top Ten Migrant Workers" in 2006. Hu's husband, Liu Jiaming, also
works at the Xin Ming Zhu Company. The two have twin daughters who
live in Guang'an.