City says a million labourers can stay until the Olympics More than a million migrants working at hundreds of construction sites across Beijing, including various sports venues, will be allowed to stay until the Olympic Games, authorities said yesterday. It was the second attempt by officials in less than two weeks to deny local media reports about a proposed plan to clear the city of millions of migrant workers, 'Migrant workers will not be expelled from the capital,' Zhou Jidong, a city official in charge of legislative affairs, said yesterday. 'Given that Beijing has such an enormous amount of construction work to do, should all the projects be halted in 2008 simply for the Olympics? Impossible!' Newspapers and government-run websites reported earlier that Games' organisers were considering strict controls on the movement of migrants during the Olympics, including forcing at least a million workers to return home. The proposed measures also targeted those working in beauty salons (often fronts for prostitution), street vendors, beggars, the homeless and the mentally ill. The city government came under fire after leading local media, including the Beijing News, Beijing Times and government-backed Qianlong.com, played up the proposals, which were based on studies authorised by the Beijing 2008 Environmental and Construction Headquarters. Although officials were quick to deny the reports as 'groundless and irresponsible', analysts and legal experts denounced the expulsion plan as 'discriminatory and unconstitutional'. Mr Zhou said: 'Our normal work concerning possible legislation for the Olympics has been affected by such hearsay reports. For example, we were forced to organise the media briefing to clarify it once again.' When asked if the public would be allowed access to the legislative process, Mr Zhou said that he hoped so. 'When we finalise all the subjects that need to be addressed by legislation, the public will be able to participate in the process,' he said. Peking University law professor Jiang Mingan welcomed Mr Zhou's remarks. 'It is essential that the proposals regarding the Olympic legislation should be made public as early as possible to solicit opinions,' he said. 'Public debate and media coverage will help the authorities make better decisions.' Mr Zhou also denied reports that Beijing planned to ban all construction work, considered a main source of pollution, from next year. 'If all of it is halted, how can the city achieve its goals put forward in the 11th five-year programme?' he asked. But Mr Zhou confirmed officials were considering more than 60 pieces of legislation or regulations to maintain order and lift the city's image. He dismissed reports that Beijing had decided to declare a 16-day public holiday and impose a temporary ban on vehicles from outside the city and restrictions on local cars to ease traffic jams in 2008.