By Chen Yingqun
Xie Liying paints designs on porcelain for overseas customers every day, but she cares even more about the livelihoods of migrant workers from remote villages, just like her.
Xie, a deputy to the National People's Congress, called on governments to help migrant workers solve problems with housing and children's education, and also to help develop their vocational skills so that it would be easier for them to settle in the cities where they work.
Born in a small village in Gao'an, Jiangxi province, Xie, 46, has lived in Dehua, Fujian province, a main porcelain production center, for more than 24 years.
Xie said that when she first arrived in Dehua she was just a young woman with only a high school education.
"My friend said it was easier to find jobs in Fujian than in my hometown, so I came with her," she said.
"After I joined the company the skilled workers taught me everything about porcelain and how to make color paintings step by step, such as how to mix the colors, how to draw the right patterns."
Xie picked up the skills quickly, and three years later, she was recognized as one of the 100 most outstanding migrant workers in the city.
Through hard work, she and her husband finally settled down in the city.
"I was lucky to be able to learn a skill, and Dehua has been very open to giving migrant workers almost the same rights as locals," she said.
"But I have many friends who don't have a skill and are doing dirty, hard work day after day."
Sun Baoshu, also a deputy to the National People's Congress, said that the number and quality of workers can't meet the demands of economic development because workers have relatively low social status and income, and haven't enough support and incentives from the government. Skilled workers account for only about 27 percent of the workforce, he said.
Xie said that as an ordinary worker, it was a nice surprise to be elected a deputy. For each of the past five years before coming to Beijing, many migrant workers have told her their problems and asked her to be their voice.
"I have learned a lot in these years, especially the laws and regulations about migrant workers. I hope that I will help improve the livelihood of migrant workers like me a bit," she said.
Source: China Daily