He Shaoqiang, a 60-year-old porter in Chongqing, Southwest China, wishes Premier Li Keqiang could visit a new house he hopes to move into and see changes that have occurred in his life after their unexpected meeting last year.
On April 27, his bamboo stick, worn smooth and shiny by his hands over many years, attracted the attention of the Premier.
“It’s become very smooth and polished. You must have been in this business for a long time,” said Li, as he touched the meter-long pole.
“You people are great. You earn every penny by your hard work. You represent the diligent Chinese people,” Li told He and other workers during his visit to a Chongqing port.
“Please take care of your back. Being a porter isn’t easy,” Li said as he handed the stick back to He.
Li knows the hardship of physical labor. From 1974 to 1978 he worked in the countryside in East China’s Anhui province, planting rice and carrying rocks on his shoulders.
“It is our dream to enable rural residents to live the same sort of lives as those in cities. Farmers should enjoy equal opportunities for development as urban residents,” the Premier once said.
Li proposed providing better services for migrant workers at an executive meeting of the State Council last July.
The meeting called for efforts to increase help for migrant workers to find a job or start up a business as well as implementing plans to improve vocational skills.
Li stressed that the labor rights and interests of migrant workers should be guaranteed.
“Laborers like me are more willing to work than before with more preferential policies,” said He who is considering moving into a new house.
As a part of government efforts to move residents into new communities and reclaim farmland, He is entitled to a new apartment worth more than 100,000 yuan, with most of the expenses covered by government subsidies.
“I really hope that the Premier could visit our new house and take a look at our brand-new life after we move in,” he said.
He also has a plan for the future. After working for several more years, he will retire and spend the rest of his life happily with his wife.
“Just like people living in cities do,” he said.