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China says 20 million migrants have lost jobs

An estimated 20 million migrant workers have lost jobs because of the global economic crisis, a Chinese official said.

world Updated: Feb 02, 2009 11:16 IST

An estimated 20 million migrant workers have lost jobs because of the global economic crisis, a Chinese official said on Monday.

Slightly more than 15 per cent of the 130 million migrant workers in China returned to their home provinces after becoming unemployed, said Chen Xiwen, director of the Central Rural Work Leading Group. In recent years another 5 million to 6 million new migrants have entered the work force every year, Chen said.

China's economy has plunged in recent months as a sharp decline in demand for Chinese goods globally has forced thousands of factories to close. Many factory workers have already taken to the streets demanding pay and protesting layoffs.

China's communist rulers, meanwhile, have told the military to strictly obey the Communist Party as the country faces economic unrest this year.

China's 2.3 million-strong force should "resolutely obey the central party committee and the Central Military Commission's command at any time and under any circumstances, and ensure the military forces' security, stability and high level of unity at all times," said a notice posted on the central government's Web site on Monday.

Similar calls have been made in the past, showing that China's massive military answers to the Communist Party and not the government.