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Beauty queen sparks ugly debate in Shenzhen
Latest Updated by 2005-11-24 11:03:37

SHENZHEN: A victorious beauty queen has whipped up a storm of controversy in Shenzhen.

Wang Lei's status as Miss Asia 2005 , a title won in Hong Kong in October, has been no cause for protest.

It is the awarding of a permanent residency permit that has caused tempers to fray.

The 20-year-old model, who moved to Shenzhen from Northeast China's Harbin just three years ago, was recently granted registered permanent residency of the booming southern city, to the anger of millions of migrant workers.

They say it is unfair Wang should be granted residency just for being beautiful when they have no chance of being registered even if they put in years of labour.

When Wang made her victorious return to Shenzhen from Hong Kong a month ago, she could not help letting slip her wish to become a Shenzhener. 

"Shenzhen is my second hometown and I wish I could become a real Shenzhen citizen," she told reporters.

The Shenzhen Bureau of Labour and Social Security offered her permanent residency shortly after hearing the news.

Residency, they said, was granted because of Wang's "special expertise" in the "cultural industry."

Wang became an officially registered Shenzhener on Monday.

The bureau explained that its cultural industry is in great need of talent and Wang, a prize winner in her field, deserves the privilege.

Many migrant labourers see the case as one of blatant double standards.

"It's unfair. I have worked hard here for a decade and have no chance of getting residency. How can she get it so easily just for having a beautiful face and a shapely figure?" said Liu Yong, an interior designer working in Shenzhen.

Another employee, surnamed Lu, working for a trading company, complained: "If the government wants to attract more talent to a certain industry, the special policy should relate to a group of people rather than a single star."

According to the existing policy, companies are granted a set number of residencies for their employees if they have paid at least 50,000 yuan (US$6,165) in corporation taxes in the previous financial year or have exported more than US$2 million goods or services.

For the self-employed, only those who have paid at least 80,000 yuan (US$9,860) personal income taxes for three consecutive years can apply for a residency allowance.

Official figures show the city squeezes 10.70 million people into less than 2,000 square kilometres. Of those more than 10 million people, about 9 million are migrant workers who have no permanent residency. 

Migrant workers do not enjoy the same social security benefits as permanent residents, and their children do not have the same rights to education in the city.

However, some who call the city home supported the decision to make Wang a registered Shenzhener, believing her example will encourage young people that excellence in any industry can bring success.

Editor: Donald

By: Source:China Daily Website
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