09/09/2009, 00.00
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China looses 41 million jobs, 40% of the global loss, because of crisis

One study indicates data much worse than official government estimates. Since end of June 150 million migrants left for cities to find work, but many will only find casual labour. First part of a study on employment and trade unions in China.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China has lost more than 41 million jobs in the global financial crisis, approximately 40% of redundancies across the world. Despite recent recovery, 23 million are still without work, many for months.

This is the sum of what was stated yesterday by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the main government body of study, in its annual Green Book on Population and Labour. The crisis has caused the closure of tens of thousands of factories, the traditional place of work for millions of migrants.  

Professor Cai Feng, director of the study, in presenting it to the press also noted that the funding granted by the government to enterprises, for 4 thousand billion Yuan, was aimed at promoting economic growth rather than an increase in jobs: in fact the sum could create 72.36 million new jobs over a period of years, compared to the 51.35 million the government seeks.

 These data starkly contradict official government estimates: in August the Minister for Human Resources and Social Security said the crisis had caused "only" 16.5 million unemployed, of which only 9 million immigrants. The significant difference raises serious questions about the reliability of the statistics provided by the country, because they are often not supported by elements that enables verification.  

The employment situation now appears an emergency when one considers that, according to a BBC report made public yesterday, at least 20 million migrants have tried to return home to the countryside in early 2009, after losing their jobs. Now the government says that 95% of them are back in the big cities to seek employment, but it does not appear to be matched by job offers, especially by factories and construction sites. Many Western experts predict that most of them will only find poorly paid occasional work. The unemployment rate remained at 4.3% in the first half of 2009, the highest since 1980.

Chen Xiwen, director of the Central Management Team for the Office for Rural Employment in the Ministry for Agriculture, says that since the end of June, 150 million migrants have left home to seek work in cities and factories, the largest number ever.   Professor Kam Wing Chan notes that "the Chinese migrants are really at the bottom of the pile in the world of work" and are a cheap labour force.   

Experts say the problem is compounded by the lack of unions that look after the rights of workers, given that unions are state organs of the Communist Party who tend to favour the interests of economic output than those of citizens.

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