Govt once pushed its sons away, now luring them back

Updated: 2016-02-15 08:03

By Zhu Lixin(China Daily)

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On Feb 4, four days before Spring Festival, I drove from the downtown area of Fuyang, Anhui province, to Linquan county.

I was told the 65-kilometer road trip would take me an hour at most, but it was more than two hours before I arrived at Chengguan township, where the county's government lies.

Cars were lined up along the road, which passes by many rural markets, and we were impeded by many tractors, electric motorbikes, electrical tricycles and pedestrians during the trip.

Officials had previously told me Fuyang has the province's lowest urbanization rate.

I started the journey at the Fuyang Railway Station, where the government had provided 30 buses that twice daily transport people out to the counties. Train passengers were able to ride the bus for free.

Around 100 posters depicting migrant worker entrepreneurs, running successful businesses in their hometown, had been erected outside the exit of the station.

Officials said this was aimed at inspiring returning migrant workers to stay, not merely for the festival, but permanently.

Free bus rides were also provided to rural residents in the 1990s, but then the aim was to persuade them to leave their homes and find jobs in the rapidly developing manufacturing sector of China's cities.

Now, officials expect more and more experienced migrant workers to come home and start their own businesses in rural areas to help boost economy.

After I arrived at Chengguan, I drove another 30 kilometers along a narrow rural road before arriving at Wang Zili's workshop, in the yard of his house.

Govt once pushed its sons away, now luring them back

Wang's firm mostly produces simple handicrafts, which he had been making for years as a migrant worker in a Zhejiang-based company.

He never finished primary school and had no interest in buying property, but he now needs a larger place to make his products.

This is a dream that will now come true, as the local government has built Wang a factory and will hand over the keys to him soon.

Officials said the government was willing to invest in small businesses run by returning migrant workers as they were the only ones whom rural areas could depend on.

Wang said he would go to great pains to run his firm and would have to work much harder than when he was a migrant worker.

"But at least I am home now, and don't have to earn my bread in far-off places anymore," he said.

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(China Daily 02/15/2016 page5)