News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinewar-on-terrorchina — Viewing Item


China cities scramble to manage mass migration { April 28 2006 }

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
   http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2006/04/28/china_cities_scramble_to_manage_mass_migration/

http://www.boston.com/news/world/asia/articles/2006/04/28/china_cities_scramble_to_manage_mass_migration/

China cities scramble to manage mass migration
By Lindsay Beck | April 28, 2006

BEIJING (Reuters) - For Li Xieting, choosing between her hometown in the central Chinese province of Henan and life in the capital Beijing is easy.

"I like Beijing better. In my hometown it's all old people. Everyone else has come to the cities," the 12-year-old said.

The 1,050 children at her school for migrants' children in Beijing are among the 400 million the government predicts will move from the countryside to China's cities in the next 20 years, in one of the fastest migrations in history.

How China, already scrambling to manage a yawning gap between rich and poor and cope with an aging population, handles the transition will test the government's ability to create liveable mega-cities and prevent the explosion of an urban underclass that could threaten social stability.

Beijing already has 15 million residents and state media has quoted authorities as saying they want to limit its population to 18 million by 2020.

The southern city of Shenzhen was little more than a fishing village two decades ago when former leader Deng Xiaoping decided it should be a leader in China's experiments with market reforms. Now it is home to 10 million. The Western municipality of Chongqing has 30 million, roughly the population of Canada.

"Having 50 to 70 million people in Shanghai is not beyond the realm of belief," said Robert Watson of the U.S.-based Natural Resources Defense Council, who advises several Chinese cities on green building.

"Rather than saying, we're only going to have infrastructure for 30 million, that's not going to stop people from coming. So you might as well put the infrastructure in to support a lot of people," he said.

UNDERCLASS

China is only belatedly waking up to the reality of millions of people -- often rural poor unable to make a living from farming -- swarming into the cities.

It's one side of a multi-faceted problem: China is worried that stark gaps in income, health care and schooling between rich urban dwellers and the three-quarters of its 1.3 billion people who live in the countryside could lead to further resentment and protests that may challenge the Communists' decades-old monopoly on power.

A system put in place under Mao Zedong tied every citizen to their place of origin, giving each a residence permit that prevented them from settling freely elsewhere.

Long after China undertook market reforms and began to rely on rural migrants trickling into the cities for cheap labor on construction sites and in menial jobs like garbage picking, they remain an underclass.

Because their rural residence permits mean many are in cities illegally, the government has long ignored them, leaving them without access to services like education and housing.

The system also meant most migrants were men who left their families behind and who intended to one day return home.

But as the residence permit system slowly reforms, more and more are bringing their families and are coming to stay.

"If the parents are both in the city and they don't have relatives, what else are they going to do?" asked Huang He, Li Xieting's principal at the Xingzhi School for migrants' children.

A map on a classroom wall is colored in to show the provinces the students' families come from. Most are from the heavily populated, interior provinces of Henan and Sichuan.

There are some 300,000 migrant children in Beijing alone, Huang says, most living in suburbs a world away from the skyscrapers and shopping malls of the city center.

HERE TO STAY

Li Xieting lives with her parents, sister and brother in a one-room, cement-floor house beyond an empty lot filled with mountains of cement and bricks bound for construction sites, in a neighborhood made up entirely of newcomers to the city.

Her family has been in Beijing for three years and her mother, Li Kezhi, says they will stay.

"This is a good place. In our home we didn't have one cent of income," said Li, who takes care of the house and children while her husband scrapes a living picking trash.

But although the family feel they are relatively better off in the city, analysts warn that the scores of poor migrants are already contributing to a disaffected underclass marginalized by their better-off city brethren.

Despite its massive population, China avoided the kinds of urban slums infamous in cities like Rio de Janeiro and Kolkata in part because of the residence permits, but parts of Daxing, where Li Xieting lives, are now but a step away.

"It's something already underway," said Dorothy Solinger, a political scientist at University of California at Irvine who has studied China's migrant population.

"It's going to be hard to put into place the kind of policies that will be needed to turn that trend around."

A comprehensive social welfare system with access to health care and education were key, she said.

The strain on resources and the choking traffic are also causing concerns in cities not built to cope with such numbers.

But despite the hardships, Li Kezhi says her family has no regrets about their decision to move to the city.

"We'll stay as long as the policies allow," she said.



Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company



Afghan china { January 24 2002 }
America helped restrict freedoms in china
Beijing crushes a student group
Beijing world threat
Bush says the spirit of the lord is strong in china
Bush taiwan
Carlyle group financially invades asia { February 14 2005 }
China and india cooperate on securing oil { January 12 2006 }
China assembles missiles facing taiwan
China boosts military spending
China buildup against us { May 16 2003 }
China cities scramble to manage mass migration { April 28 2006 }
China coul rule clothes market after 2005 { August 12 2004 }
China creating unprecedented pollution { August 25 2007 }
China criticizes US human rights
China detains 3 who criticized government { December 14 2004 }
China exports hurt by tainted products { June 28 2007 }
China has billionaire boom { September 2007 }
China land grab causes popular unrest { October 5 2004 }
China launches manned space mission { October 14 2003 }
China legislates force if taiwan declares independence
China military seeks comfort from high technology { August 1 2004 }
China orders probe on forced slave labor { May 2007 }
China prepared to use nukes if attacked over taiwan { July 14 2005 }
China president meets iran leader
China protests japan bid for security council status
China ramps up warnings to us about honk kong
China sets up riot police units { August 18 2005 }
China sets up squads to combat anti terrorism { August 18 2005 }
China stern warning { August 5 2002 }
China taiwan
China tests balliestic missile submarine
China threatens military force on taiwan { March 8 2005 }
China tightens political freedoms { April 24 2005 }
China to accept foreign private equity buyouts { June 6 2007 }
China to buy Kazakhstan oil { August 22 2005 }
China to privitize collectively owned land { March 8 2007 }
China trade surplus hits 80 billion in 2005
China unable to quench thirst for oil { January 20 2004 }
China unocal deal curbed by chevron { July 20 2005 }
China US rift after bush meets dalai lama { September 2007 }
China warns of military clash with taiwan { July 30 2004 }
China warship { March 26 2002 }
China wtc { September 11 2001 }
Chinese crackdown on tibet protests { February 2008 }
Chinese demand better english for olympics { April 11 2007 }
Chinese leader solidifies power { June 28 2003 }
Chinese police fire into village protest { December 9 2005 }
Chinese premier defends 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre { March 14 2004 }
CIA issues warning on china military effort { February 16 2005 }
Defense minister warned crush taiwan independence army day
Ehtnic clashes eupt in china 150 dead { October 31 2004 }
EU considering dropping arms ban { December 8 2004 }
EU to challenge US on china
General motors invests 3b in china { June 7 2004 }
Hong kong from british rule
Honk kong protests anti subversion law { July 1 2003 }
Honk kong residents spied for mi6
Honk kong stages massive march
Houses of china poor demolished by government { March 9 2006 }
Hu warns us { May 2 2002 }
Income gap widens in china
Iran urges china intervene palestinians
Japan prepares for china attack { November 8 2004 }
Joint china russia war games seen as message { August 17 2005 }
Millions join anti china protest in taiwan
Mugabe envisages world order header by china { December 3 2003 }
Oil and mercantilism for china { April 19 2006 }
Pentagon report concerned over china military rise { July 20 2005 }
Police raid china newspaper that reported sars { January 8 2004 }
Rupert murdoch business success in china { June 26 2007 }
Rural chinese leave home in search of better life { May 17 2006 }
Senior chinese ready for necessary casualties over taiwan
South industrial china town explodes with violence { January 17 2006 }
Starbucks wins china trademark lawsuit { January 2 2006 }
Taiwan china begin historic direct commercial flights
Taiwan president shot wounded before elections
Taiwan protesters riot police clash
Taiwan referendum could lead to war { December 3 2003 }
Taiwan says vote despite bush warning
Taiwan warned by us not to provoke china { December 9 2003 }
Thousands join anti japan protests in east china
Twice missile range { November 20 2002 }
Us penalizes iran missile aid { May 23 2003 }
US plans huge show of force in Pacific { June 30 2004 }

Files Listed: 85



Correction/submissions

CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Archives
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple