The first "Urban Guest Worker Centers" in Longhua District, Haikou, opened in 1997. It is primarily a center for trade in plastic flowers, and is now the largest market for plastic flowers in the province. "Jinmao Auto-Repair City" was the second project. At present, it is the largest automoble repair and trade center in the province. The third project was "Binlian Recycling City," which is now the largest recycling center in the province. These projects have helped more than 3,000 urban guest workers settle down and find jobs. In June 2002, with the encouragement of the Longhua District government, every township and village in the district each set up its own "Urban Guest Worker Centers."
These "Urban Guest Worker Centers" work on the principal of "government leadership, commercial investment, separate construction, and centralized management." This project has been innovative in three areas.
First, it has changed the government's approach to guest residents from trying to control them to trying to serve them. Originally, local governments considered guest residents an "unstable population," and adopted a policy of "uncover, apprehend, and deport." Now local governments realize that they are a disadvantaged group, and, therefore, try to provide aid instead.
Second, the project has helped solve the problem of housing and employment for guest residents. Through the project, local governments are exploring a new way of managing guest workers, which combines management with service, education with protection, and public safety measures with market economics.
Third, the project has set up ten service centers for urban guest workers, helping them to find jobs and to protect their rights. Meanwhile, the project has facilitated the formation of an urban guest workers' organization--the Urban Guest Workers' Association--promoting self-governance among urban guest workers and enhancing their capacity as a disadvantaged group to protect their rights.