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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 07:31 GMT
Chinese city may limit migrants
Chinese construction worker in Beijing - archive image
More than 100 million migrants are helping build China's economy
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou may cap the number of migrant workers it allows in because of the "social problems" they bring, state media said.

Government officials told the China Daily that one possibility was to stop some industries employing migrants.

China's economic boom has largely been driven by the cheap labour which migrants from poorer inland provinces bring to coastal areas like Guangzhou.

But Guangzhou residents blame migrants for crime and other social problems.

"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," said Su Baoling, a local official who supports setting limits.

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According to the China Daily, official statistics show that of the 100,000 crimes reported every year during the past five years, roughly 85% ended in the arrest of a migrant worker.

Rights groups say the figure may be distorted since migrants are often especially targeted by police.

More than 100 million migrants are thought to be working in China's factories and construction sites, and the China Daily said the number in Guangzhou alone was 5 million.

Imposing restrictions on migrant workers will raise concerns among businesses, who are already worried by rising costs in places like Guangzhou, as migrants go elsewhere.


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