Half of urban China's aged live alone

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Empty nests: Half of urban China's aged live alone

    BEIJING: Figures released by China's National Committee on Aging indicate nearly half of senior citizens in urban China live away from their children.

    "About 49.7% of senior citizens in China's towns and cities live away from their off-springs in 'empty nests'," said Yan Qingchun, deputy director of the National Committee on Aging, at a symposium in Beijing. Yan added in rural areas, 38.8% elderly people are forced to live on their own, with large scale migration from villages and the one-child policy to be blamed for the trend.

    "The situation in villages might get worse because the number of 'empty nests' in rural areas is growing at a faster rate than in urban areas," said Yan, adding that during its 12th five-year plan (2011-2015), the government plans to build 30-bed old age homes for every 1,000 senior citizens.

    Traditionally, Chinese social and religious practices have revolved around the idea of loyalty to elders with the system now under severe strain due to industrial development which is breaking up homes and forcing grown up children to live away from parents, sources said.

    Empty nests: Half of urban China's aged live alone - The Times of India

    *******************************

    This is the sad and unfortunate commentary of a nation that is too busy to feather its own nest of nuclear family.

    This is the pitfall of chasing the 'capitalist' dream wherein age old traditions of looking after the aged parents is slowly vanishing.

    It only leads to social disharmony and increased necessity of the Govt using funds and resources to look after the senior citizens and thereby not being able to deploy the funds and resources so used for senior citizens for other useful social and community purpose.

    This can happen to all societies emerging into a capitalist societal form.
     
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  3. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    The situation in countryside is much worse, grandparents have to take care of their grandchildren while they are too old to take care of themselves.
     
  4. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    It is sad, but it is inevitable for any country who want to complete its industrilization!
     
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  5. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    ^^Are the parents allowed to relocate and live with their children in the cities under China's hukou system? If so, why don't they do that?
     
  6. trackwhack

    trackwhack Tihar Jail Banned

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    Bullshit, the real reason is that the one child policy asks too much of the offspring. When there are two kids it changes the equation drastically. And this is just the beginning. The demographic change is just beginning to hit. But in a way it will also help China overcome the shortfall in job creation as a result of the recession. Even though official figures say the labour market is growing, the oldest of this layer is currently only semi employed, some even lower for like three months or so. So total manpower may already have started falling.
     
  7. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Irrelevant to Hukou. Partly an economical phenomenon - many who work in cities simply can't afford to bring their parents along. Or elderly still make their own living at home, like farming.

    On the other hand Chinese make fun of those (married) urban grown-ups who still live with, or financially rely on their parents as Ken-lao-zu literally meaning "people who eat their parents" (Boomerang Kids) as they're supposed to be self dependent. But, of course most of them are victims of property speculation.

    Meanwhile some elderly nowadays don't like to be babysitters for the 3rd generation, while preferring to enjoy their later life.

    Owing to individualism + urbanization nuclear family inevitably prevails.
     
  8. Known_Unknown

    Known_Unknown Devil's Advocate Stars and Ambassadors

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    Interesting! Seems like western culture is invading China! I was under the impression that Chinese families are like Indian families, where filial duty is considered very important, sometimes even more important than your duty towards your spouse. I have had Chinese co-workers tell me that they regret leaving their parents behind in China while they are working and raising their families in North America. Some of them plan to go back to China after retirement, but are not too sure apparently because the housing prices even in 2nd tier cities like Shenzhen have skyrocked over the past two decades.

    I think eventually if China adopts western style divorce laws as well, there will be many many people living alone without any family life to speak of. Whether that is a good or bad thing depends on the individual of course!
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    The Hukou system still is in force in China, even though there is pressure for it to be changed.

    Hundreds of millions of migrants have entered urban areas without full urban status. In conjunction with local industries these migrants put increasing pressure on the state to abolish the hukou system, which requires Chinese citizens to hold a valid residency permit. The state has responded by liberalising two key areas of hukou management but failed to address the fundamental issue of civic inequality.

    Today, hukou remains an important governing instrument to promote economic development, maintain social stability and manage migration and urbanisation but these blunt development tools increasingly threaten to dampen the growing dynamism of Chinese society and economy. Balancing stability, management and control on the one hand and dynamism, growth and civic equality on the other is becoming increasingly difficult under the confines of this development model. The last few decades of hukou reform encapsulate this Chinese governing dilemma.

    After the 1911 Revolution, warlords, the Republican Government and Japanese occupying forces alike all utilised hukou. After the establishment of New China in 1949, hukou was again employed to bring order to a China ravaged by the tumultuous first half of the 20th century. The Hukou Registration Regulation appeared in 1958, regulating residency, mobility and dividing agricultural and non-agricultural populations. The establishment of socialism became the new priority and much effort was put into dividing, organising and administering the population in service of the planned economy. Movement between locations, especially movement from rural to urban, was controlled and hukou permit holders were required to reside or be employed in non-agricultural areas.

    During the 1950s, 60s and early 70s Chinese officials institutionalised a tight division of rural and urban societies, and migration and population mobility were severely hampered. With the slow advent of a new economic orthodoxy beginning in the late 1970s, migration from rural to urban areas began to grow. An increasing amount of agricultural hukou holders engaged in non-agricultural employment. The state eventually adapted to this trend and introduced temporary residency permits in 1984 allowing citizens to move outside of their hukou zone and gain employment and temporary housing without transferring their permanent hukou location. This revolutionised the Chinese economy as increasing numbers of migrants exited an agricultural sector characterised by underemployment.

    Whilst these migrants could now legally survive ‘outside the plan’ they were relegated to a ‘temporary’ status with acute institutional implications. From 1978 to 2007, the non-agricultural hukou population grew from under 200 million to 431 million, whilst the urban population grew to 600 million. A new ‘temporary’ urban class has been created by the combination of reform era economics and only partial liberalisation of the hukou system.

    The second major reform trend involved the liberalisation and commodification of hukou transfers for elite migrants, some local nongmin swept up by the urban sprawl and migrants willing to migrate to less densely urbanised areas. These reforms encapsulated the state’s development agenda by targeting migrants of particular value to urban areas (the wealthy, the educated and the talented) and through special hukou transfer policies that encourage migrants with fewer skills or material resources to migrate to less densely populated urban areas.

    These moves, in conjunction with the freeing up of the ‘temporary’ labour class, have played a significant role in China’s urbanisation and move to economic conditions characterised by a large proportion of the population engaged in non-agricultural employment, however, this has not been without cost.

    The denial of residency status and government entitlements significantly disadvantages most migrants and relegates them to a second-tier ‘temporary’ institutional status.

    With urbanisation and socio-economic development now reaching a critical stage, the Chinese state needs to move away from this heavy handed approach to development and push through deep reform of the hukou system. This should include an end to hukou dualism (agricultural/non-agricultural), a lessoning of the distinction between local and non-local hukou entitlements and the introduction of a more transparent, liberal and accountable process for inward hukou transfers. The continual institutional discrimination of non-local and particularly agricultural hukou holders threatens the construction of a harmonious and egalitarian society as urban classes solidify along hukou non-hukou lines.

    China’s current and future development relies on careful phasing out of this system if socio-economic development is to continue and major political upheaval in the form of an emergent civic rights movement is to be avoided.

    China’s hukou system impinges on development and civic rights | East Asia Forum
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Hukou system being what it is, it is not possible to move the children along with the migrant labour since the facilities of existence will not be extended to the family thus migrated.

    Therefore, the elderly or the children who cannot be employed will have to be left behind to fend for themselves.

    It is bogus bunkum of the Chinese poster to state that the Chinese have become westernised and leave their homes when old enough. It is the usual Chinese way to hide unpleasant truths by spinning yarns like these.

    It is just that the system does not permit or support the move of the family who are unemployable.

    Hence, they are forced to stay where their Hukou permit is!

    And it is this system that leaves the old, infirm and young to fend for themselves.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Hukou System of China and Need to Change

    What is the Hukou System?

    Hukou system

    hukou is a record in the system of household registration required by law in the People's Republic of China (mainland China) and in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The system itself is more properly called "huji", and has origins in ancient China.
    A household registration record officially identifies a person as a resident of an area and includes identifying information such as name, parents, spouse, and date of birth.

    A hukou can also refer to a family register in many contexts since the household registration record is issued per family, and usually includes the births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and moves, of all members in the family.

    Family registers were in existence in China as early as the Xia Dynasty (c. 2100 BCE - 1600 BCE). In the centuries which followed, the family register developed into an organization of families and clans for purposes of taxation, conscription and social control.

    Household registration in China

    The Communist Party instigated a command economy when it came to power in 1949. In 1958, the Chinese government officially promulgated the family register system to control the movement of people between urban and rural areas. Individuals were broadly categorised as a "rural" or "urban" worker. A worker seeking to move from the country to urban areas to take up non-agricultural work would have to apply through the relevant bureaucracies. The number of workers allowed to make such moves was tightly controlled. Migrant workers would require six passes to work in provinces other than their own. People who worked outside their authorized domain or geographical area would not qualify for grain rations, employer-provided housing, or health care. There were controls over education, employment, marriage and so on.

    Rationale

    With its large rural population of poor farm workers, hukou limited mass migration from the land to the cities to ensure some structural stability. The hukou system was an instrument of the command economy. By regulating labour, it ensured an adequate supply of low cost workers to the plethora of state owned businesses. Like the internal passports of the Soviet Union, the hukou system allowed the state to provide preferential treatment to industrial workers and intelligentsia who would be more likely to protest and even revolt during periods of unrest.[citation needed]
    For some time, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security continued to justify the hukou system on public order grounds, and also provided demographic data for government central planning.

    The Hukou system has been justified by some scholars as increasing the stability of China by better monitoring of "targeted persons", people who are politically dubious by the Party's standards. This is still a significant function as of 2006 (and even now). (italics mine)

    Enforcement

    From around 1953 to 1976, Police would periodically round up those who were without valid residence permit, place them in detention centres and expel them from cities.

    Administration regulations issued in 1982 known as "custody and repatriation" authorized police to detain people, and "repatriate" them to their permanent residency location.

    Although an individual is technically required to live in the area designated on his/her permit, in practice the system has largely broken down. After the Chinese economic reforms, it became possible for some to unofficially migrate and get a job without a valid permit. Economic reforms also created pressures to encourage migration from the interior to the coast. It also provided incentives for officials not to enforce regulations on migration.

    Technology has made it easier to enforce the Hukou system as now the police force has a national database of official Hukou registrations. This was made possible by computerisation in the 1990s, as well as greater co-operation between the different regional police authorities.

    During the Great Leap Forward's famine

    During the mass famine of the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962, having an urban versus a rural hukou could mean the difference between life and death. During this period, nearly all of the approximately 600 million rural hukou residents were collectivized into village communal farms, where their agricultural output - after state taxes - would be their only source of food. With institutionalized exaggeration of output figures by local Communist leaders and massive declines in production, state taxes during those years confiscated nearly all food in many rural communes, leading to mass starvation and the deaths of more than 30 million Chinese.

    The 100 million urban hukou residents, however, were fed by fixed food rations established by the central government, which declined to an average of 1500 calories per day at times but still allowed survival for almost all during the famine. An estimated 95% or higher of all deaths occurred among rural hukou holders. With the suppression of news internally, many city residents were not aware that mass deaths were occurring in the countryside at all, which was essential to preventing organized opposition to Mao's scheme.

    Many of the starving peasants tried to flee to the cities to beg for food, but tight security at entry points and through regular inspections of resident documents on the streets led to the deportation and subsequent death of most. In fact, it was only when rural family members of higher military officers, who were often isolated from the countryside in cities or bases, began dying from starvation that higher Communist officials began seriously worrying about the stability of the state, and eventually forced Mao to end the program. This was the most extreme demonstration of how much impact a different hukou could have in China, but significant interference in all aspects of life only began declining in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Effect on rural workers

    From around 1953 to 1976, the restriction of a citizen's rights by his domicile caused rural citizens to be separated into an underclass. Urban citizens enjoyed a range of social, economic and cultural benefits that China's rural citizens did not receive. The ruling party did however make some concessions to rural workers to make life in rural areas "survivable... if not easy or pleasant".

    From 1978 to 2001, while China changed from state socialism to market capitalism, export-processing zones were created in city suburbs and migrants, most of them female, worked there under conditions far below the contemporary standard of western countries. There were restrictions upon the mobility of migrant workers that forced them to live precarious lives in company dormitories or shanty towns where they were exposed to abusive treatment.

    The impact of the hukou system upon migrant laborers became onerous in the 1980s after hundreds of millions were ejected from state corporations and cooperatives. Since the 1980s, an estimated 200 million Chinese live outside their officially registered areas and under far less eligibility to education and government services, living therefore in a condition similar in many ways to that of illegal immigrants. The millions of peasants who have left their land remain trapped at the margins of the urban society. They are often blamed for rising crime and unemployment and under pressure from their citizens, the city governments have imposed discriminatory rules. For example, the children of farm workers are not allowed to enroll in the city schools, and even now must live with their grandparents or other relatives in order to attend school in their hometowns. They are commonly referred to as the home-staying children. There are around 130 million such home-staying children, living without their parents, as reported by Chinese researchers.

    Some China-based scholars claim that though the Hukou system is discriminatory, it is not significantly different than the passport system keeping people from developing countries from resettling in the West.

    Reform

    Reformation of hukou has been controversial in the PRC. It is a system widely regarded as unfair by citizens of the PRC, but there is also fear that its liberalization would lead to massive movement of people into the cities, causing strain to city government services, damage to the rural economies, and increase in social unrest and crime.

    And yet, there has been recognition that hukou is an impediment to economic development. China's accession to the World Trade Organization has forced it to allow reformation to hukou in order to liberate the movement of labor for the benefit of the economy.

    Further relaxation of the system has happened since the 1990s. A provision was made to allow the rural resident to buy "temporary urban residency permits" so the resident could work legally within the cities. The fee for these permits decreased over time and have become reasonably affordable. The inheritance of hukou was changed to allow succession through the lines of both the father and the mother, which corrected the disadvantage of hukou against rural women.

    Hukou has been further weakened since 2001. In 2003, after protests over the death of Sun Zhigang alarmed the government, the laws of custody and repatriation were repealed. By 2004 over 100 million rural citizens were working in cities, according to the estimate of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

    Chan and Buckingham's (2008) article, "Is China Abolishing its Hukou System," argues that previous reforms have not fundamentally changed the hukou system, but have only decentralized the powers of hukou to local governments. The present hukou system remains active and continues to contribute to China's rural and urban disparity.

    The system is currently only partially enforced, and it has been argued that the system will have to be further relaxed in order to increase availability of skilled workers to industries.

    Hukou system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  12. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Again as said it's more of an economical issue universally. If financially sustainable u certainly can move the children and the elderly wherever u migrate. Why are there so many empty nests in rural areas? Youngsters shift to cities for employment and leave them behind.

    Is it so-called "westernized"? No. it's just NATURAL when industrialization and urbanization evolve to such a stage that many shift to cities or bigger cities for employment, while many not financially capable of carrying the elderly/children along. Hukou isn't a hurdle any longer for mobility, but MONEY is.

    Is it "unpleasant"? If u refer to not being able to relocate one's family in migrating to one's workplace, then YES. If u refer to grown-ups pursuing personal life not living with parents, it depends on your individual choice.

    And I again ask u to get updated of "Hukou " (Residence Registry). , which at present is more related to educational opportunities and social security network. And I happen to be one of "migrant workers".
     
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Hukou System of China and Need to Change

    China’s migrant problem: the need for hukou reform

    In December 2009 China’s Central Economic Work Conference announced policy initiatives of hukou (household registration) reform and the absorption of migrant workers into small-medium cities. Although the renewed national strategy can certainly be seen as a welcome sign to address this fundamental issue, the majority of migrants are clustered in metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The local governments in these cities will need to devise their own coping strategies to deal with the pressure and tension over limited infrastructure and resources.

    Beginning last year, Shanghai and a number of other cities have started a ‘point system’ to grant ‘well-qualified’ migrant workers permanent residency. But to many migrants’ disappointment, the eligibility requirements are so stringent that less than 0.1 per cent of migrants would be qualified to apply. This is not surprising. With local government financing social security, social welfare and social relief, it is unfeasible for city governments to provide all migrant workers with social benefits and public services in the same way as their urban counterparts within a short time frame. Nevertheless, a system that handpicks ‘top’ migrants (those well endowed with financial assets, human capital or both) will only encourage cities to cream off the few ‘best’ ones without addressing the general issues that affect the livelihood of millions.

    To make things more complicated, in some areas, land grabbing in the name of hukou reform has also taken place. Farmers are forced to give up their land in exchange for urban residents’ status with no real entitlements to social benefits. Considering the range of difficulties and the degree of complexity associated with hukou reform, there is no simple and quick solution. In the short run, pilot programs in restricted areas could serve as informative policy experiments to explore possible policy options. In the medium and long run, it is still up to the local governments to delineate feasible strategies to manage the urbanisation process and to contribute to the development of a rural-urban integrated social welfare system. It is up to the central government to align the diverse interests in order to address the long-standing institutional issues.

    The 50-year old hukou system is a legacy of the dualistic economy, serving as a highly effective measure of limiting migration and keeping farmers tied to the land. While government controls over labour migration have been largely relaxed since 1990s, migrant workers often remain second-class citizens in cities due to their non-local hukou status. Such inferiority manifests itself in forms of discrimination in job markets and deprivation of social benefits and public services. And migrant children often miss out on education opportunities because hukou is inherited,.

    Such a system is unfair and has caused much grievance and social tension for many migrant workers, who face great difficulties in their daily lives. The rigidity of the hukou policy, and its implication of entitlement to social benefits and public services, have also suppressed migrant workers’ consumption. With no realistic prospect of settling down, migrants are guest workers. They often spend as little as possible in cities and send the bulk of their income back home. This is clearly at odds with efforts to boost domestic demand in order to address imbalance and keep growth in a more sustainable fashion.

    More fundamentally, the current (mis)treatment to migrants hinders labour mobility and adversely affects productivity growth. Sizeable rural surplus labour may be unwilling or unable to move to more productive urban sectors due to various restrictions associated with their hukou status. As the rest of the country moves forward, the divide between the haves and the have-nots is likely to become greater. Meanwhile, impediments to mobility can obscure the real labour supply and send the false signal of depleting rural surplus labour. Consequently, the national economic development strategy may gear up to higher capital and technological intensity. If this happens, many rural poor will be permanently trapped in the low-productivity pockets and fail to catch the train to economic prosperity, forever.

    To achieve long-run economic growth and social stability, China needs to address this long-standing hukou problem. But reforming the restrictive hukou system is no easy undertaking. The Hukou system is intertwined with social policy reforms on all fronts: pension, health care, social insurance, education and housing. It will affect not only China’s 140 million migrant workers, but also the rural communities they leave behind. And, of course, the urban population needs to be prepared at the receiving end. That makes everyone involved.

    China’s migrant problem: the need for hukou reform | East Asia Forum
     
  14. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Hukou System of China and Need to Change

    Why China won’t abandon the hukou system

    Over the past few days I’ve pointed out some of the major issues revolving around the hukou system. So I thought it was important to establish why it is that the hukou system won’t be changing anytime soon, despite the ongoing discussions of how to change it.

    Surprisingly the hukou system is not something that was dreamed up by the communist party as a way to control the masses (which is how it sounds to most Americans I’ve talked with), it is actually a modified version of household registration that has been a part of China for thousands of years. The original system was also used to restrict the movement of people, and to remove “troublemakers”. The modern system in the 1950′s was used as a way to keep rural peasants out of the cities. This kept the population more spread out, which made it easier for the gov’t to maintain control.

    There are a number of arguments made for why the system remains, despite China’s move away from a command economy, these are the most frequently cited.

    Slums

    It’s hard to talk with any party member about the hukou system without hearing them mention the fact that China does not have slums like India or the Philippines. This is an undeniable benefit of the system, but it is not quite as wonderful as they make it seem. Rural Chinese farmers, who can’t move to the city, often live in mud brick houses, that frequently lack proper sanitation; migrant workers in the cities live in crowded dormitories with their fellow workers, cut off from their families; and construction worker dormitories are flimsy, temporary buildings thrown up next to the current project. So while there are not “slums” there are millions of Chinese living in substandard housing.

    Benefits Businesses

    Critics usually point to the fact that the hukou system brings massive advantages to the factory owners, while oppressing the migrant workers, which is true, but, they seem to forget that the national gov’t and many local gov’ts are the owners of thousands of factories throughout the country (remember, a major part of communism that the country kept was State Owned Enterprises). It is in their interest to keep workers wages low, while limiting their bargaining power, even though it is unfair.

    This source of cheap labor has been a huge part of China’s economic success, and the hukou system helped to make sure hourly wages stayed low. If migrants had been allowed to flood the cities, slow economic periods would have led to unrest, and undermined the stability that has been another major factor in China’s rise.

    In the eyes of a local gov’t official, migrant workers provide the cheap labor he needs to grow the GDP figures that will earn him a promotion. In my experience, businesses and gov’ts rarely work against their own vested interests for the benefit of the voiceless masses, regardless of the country.

    Limits Local Gov’t Expenses

    The third reason I think that the hukou system isn’t going anywhere, is that if local gov’ts had to actually provide urban benefits to migrant workers, the whole system would collapse. Consider that migrant workers earn only~2-3,000 rmb ($4-500) each month, but would require education, health care, police, and many other services, while providing a tiny tax base. Because of China’s tax structure, these gov’ts would not be able to provide even the modest level of services that they do today. By dividing the population in this way, it is possible to provide a higher level of service to the areas with the highest population densities, and keep the relatively powerful segment of the population happy (read my series on stability).

    As Chairman Mao said during the great famine, “When there is not enough to eat people starve to death. It is better to let half of the people die so that the other half can eat their fill.” Rural residents are again the ones who are left to “starve” while urban residents eat their fill, unaware of the problems beyond their gates.

    From Why China won’t abandon the hukou system | Seeing Red in China
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: Hukou System of China and Need to Change

    Invisible and heavy shackles
    Until China breaks down the barriers between town and countryside, it cannot unleash the buying power of its people—or keep its economy booming


    [​IMG]

    ON THE hilly streets of Chongqing, men with thick bamboo poles loiter for customers who will pay them to carry loads. The “stick men”, as they are called, hang the items from either end of the poles and heave them up over their shoulders. In a city where the Communist Party chief, Bo Xilai, likes to sing old revolutionary songs, these workers should be hymned as heroes. Yet few of them are even classed as citizens of the city where they live.

    Most of the stick men were born in the countryside around Chongqing. (The name covers both the urban centre that served as China's capital in the second world war, and a hinterland, the size of Scotland, which the city administers.) Since 1953, shortly after the Communists came to power, Chinese citizens have been divided into two strata, urban and rural, not according to where they live but on a hereditary basis. The stick men may have spent all their working lives on the streets of Chongqing, but their household registration papers call them “agricultural”.

    The registration system (hukou, in Chinese) was originally intended to stop rural migrants flowing into the cities. Stick men were among the targets. In the early days of Communist rule in Chongqing the authorities rounded up thousands of “vagrants” and sent them to camps (vagrants, said Mao Zedong, “lack constructive qualities”). There they endured forced labour before being packed back to their villages.

    Rapid industrial growth over the past three decades has required tearing down migration barriers to exploit the countryside's huge labour surplus. Hukou, however, still counts for a lot, from access to education, health care and housing to compensation payouts. To be classified as a peasant often means being treated as a second-class citizen. Officials in recent years have frequently talked about “reforming” the system. They have made it easier to acquire urban citizenship, in smaller cities at least. But since late last year the official rhetoric has become more urgent. Policymakers have begun to worry that the country's massive stimulus spending in response to the global financial crisis could run out of steam. Hukou reform, they believe, could boost rural-urban migration and with it the consumer spending China needs.

    In early March 11 Chinese newspapers (it would have been 13, had not two bottled out) defied party strictures and teamed together to publish an extraordinary joint editorial. It called on China's parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), which was then about to hold its annual meeting, to urge the government to scrap the hukou system as soon as possible. “We hope”, it said, “that a bad policy we have suffered for decades will end with our generation, and allow the next generation to truly enjoy the sacred rights of freedom, democracy and equality bestowed by the constitution.” Not since the Tiananmen uprising in 1989 had so many newspapers simultaneously cast aside the restraints imposed by the Communist Party's mighty Propaganda Department, which micromanages China's media output.

    The editorial said that “gratifying” progress had already been made with reform, but the system's “invisible and heavy shackles” were still causing distress. Reform could inject “more dynamism” into the economy and help counter the effects of an ageing population.

    Party leaders resented the newspapers' boldness. Zhang Hong, a deputy chief editor of the Economic Observer, a weekly newspaper, was stripped of his title (though allowed to keep working) for his role in organising the editorial. Within a couple of hours of its appearance on newspaper websites, the authorities ordered its removal. Hukou reform was fine, but the government did not want to be hassled.

    Urban citizens benefit from the hukou system, but those who migrate between cities are also irked by it. In 2003 some Chinese newspapers, independently of one another, pressed for reform after a college-educated migrant was detained by police for failing to produce a required identity document, and was beaten to death. The outcry led to the scrapping of regulations that allowed the police to detain people and deport them to their home towns for similar misdemeanours.

    This time, says an editor involved in the hukou editorial, the impact was the opposite. Among many of the party-picked delegates to the NPC, he says, hukou reform became “a taboo topic”. The prime minister, Wen Jiabao, told the session in March that the government would carry out reforms and repeated that requirements would be relaxed in towns and smaller cities. But he offered few details.

    The complexity of hukou reform daunts Chinese leaders. It would have a huge impact on crucial aspects of the economy, from the system of land ownership in the countryside to the financing of public services. But the downsides of an unreformed system are much more obvious. The influx of migrants has caught local governments badly unprepared. Budget pressures have made them highly reluctant to spend money on helping the incomers. Registered urban residents are none too keen either. Few want their children sharing classes with kids they regard as country bumpkins.

    In a cold classroom

    In urban and rural China alike, the first nine years of schooling are supposed to be free. But not for rural migrants. In Beijing, as in other big cities, hundreds of privately run schools have sprung up in recent years to cater for them. At the Xiangyang Hope School in Huangcun township on the southern edge of the capital, the basic fee is 1,100 yuan ($165) a year: a snip for many urban residents, but the equivalent of several weeks' wages for many migrants. There is an extra charge for heating; children complain that they are cold in the bitter winters. One parent says she is preparing to take her child back to her village, because conditions are better there.

    The authorities have tried to muzzle the principal, Luo Chao (a migrant himself). Mr Luo was until recently the headmaster of another school to the north-east of Beijing. He says local officials told him just before the lunar new year holiday in February that the school would be demolished to make way for a private development project, and could not reopen after the break. Officials briefly detained Mr Luo and the head teacher of another condemned migrants' school to prevent them petitioning higher authorities. Officials promised that the children would be found new places, but Mr Luo says there is no way that the local government-run school would have enough room for them.

    In education, the hukou system's absurdity is particularly glaring. Migrant children, though classified as “agricultural”, usually have no more than one brief exposure to rural life every year when they are taken to their parents' home towns for the lunar new year festivities. School places in urban areas are so scarce that some pupils will drop out and others, though old enough for secondary school, will have to stay in primary classes. Tens of millions of children of migrant workers are, in effect, forced to stay in the countryside for schooling, looked after by other relatives. If they do move to urban areas with their parents, they may not sit exams for senior high school in the city where they live. They must return to their place of registration.

    Until the late 1990s, a child's hukou could only follow its mother's. This meant that even a child who grew up in Beijing with a father registered as a Beijing citizen might have to travel hundreds of miles to sit the exam in his mother's registered home town. Hukou can still affect a student's chances of getting into top universities, for which each province has a quota of places. The quotas for provincial-level cities like Beijing and Shanghai are disproportionately large. Such privileges fuel a lively black market in highly priced hukous of favoured cities.

    [​IMG]

    The relaxation of hukou rules in recent years has been half-hearted. Chongqing last year offered urban hukou to any rural resident who had graduated from senior high school and who was prepared to give up his entitlement to farm a plot of land and own a village homestead. Those are big provisos. Shanghai announced with fanfare last year that seven years' work in the city—along with the required tax and social-security payments—would entitle a resident to hukou. But rural migrants often work without contracts and do not pay tax or contribute to welfare funds; only 3,000 of Shanghai's millions of migrant workers would qualify, said Chinese press reports. On May 1st Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province and a magnet for migrants, began phasing out the “agricultural” distinction in its hukou documents, but the effect of this is mostly cosmetic. Beijing has been among the slowest to change. One Shanghai urban hukou-holder who has lived in Beijing for well over a decade says he still cannot get registered there.

    Moving with the moon

    The stick men of Chongqing are certainly not impressed. Several, when asked, said they had no desire to acquire urban hukou, even if it were offered. Their indifference poses a problem. In 2007 Chongqing municipality (the city plus its vast hinterland) and the city of Chengdu, 340km (210 miles) to the north-west in Sichuan Province, were chosen by the central government to pioneer reforms aimed at rebalancing urban and rural development. This would involve turning migrants into genuine urban citizens and exploiting the untapped value of the land left behind.

    This was long overdue. For all the hoopla created by the massive city-bound migration of rural residents in the past two decades (the biggest such shift in human history, with 150m moving so far and another 300m predicted to do so in the next 20-30 years), China has failed to reap the full benefits of this rapid urbanisation. Anyone who tries to travel in China around the lunar new year holiday will have an inkling of the problem.

    Because they still have rights to a rural homestead and to farm a plot of land, many rural hukou-holders maintain a vital link with the countryside even after they move. Come the new year, millions rush back to their villages to celebrate with elderly relatives and children left behind on the farm. A recent survey by Renmin University in Beijing found that about a third of migrants in their 20s aspired to build a house in their home village rather than buy one in a city. Only 7% of them identified themselves as city people. Another survey recently quoted in a party journal said that nearly 30% of migrants planned eventually to return to their villages.

    Chongqing's stick men say there are other good reasons for preserving the status quo. China's one-child policy is more relaxed in the countryside, where two-child families are common. Rural health care is rudimentary, but a scheme introduced in recent years provides subsidised treatment for rural hukou-holders who make a small annual contribution (cheaper than urban insurance). The stick men have to return to their villages for it, but, in common with around half of China's migrants, they work in the province of their hukou, and the journey is feasible.

    The poor integration of China's rural migrants into city life has big implications for the economy. In the largest cities, where property prices are soaring, few could even dream of getting on to the housing ladder. In smaller urban areas they would stand a better chance, but since they cannot sell the land they farm or even their own houses, many cannot afford it. In effect, their rural land entitlements lock up what could be a huge new source of spending power. They also prevent the consolidation of tiny plots into more efficient farms.

    [​IMG]

    Chongqing, whose leader, Mr Bo, is widely expected to be a star of the new generation of leaders due to take over in 2012, has gone for easy solutions first. In late 2008 it set up a “country land exchange institute” on the fourth floor of a new office building in the city centre. Dong Jianguo, its president (and a senior Chongqing land official), describes this as something like a market for trading carbon emissions. By cutting the amount of land used for building homes or factories and converting it into new farmland, villages can gain credits known as dipiao, or land tickets. These can then be sold to urban developers who want to build on other patches of farmland, usually far away on the city periphery. The aim is to ensure no net loss of tillable fields.

    Chongqing is not the only place trying this out, but it is doing so on a provincial scale. Eleven auctions held so far at the exchange have raised nearly 1.9 billion yuan for dipiao equivalent to 1,200 hectares (2,970 acres) of farmland. The money has been spent on repaying villages for the cost of creating new farmland, compensating those who do not want to stay and building new, more condensed housing for those who do. Stephen Green of Standard Chartered Bank said in a recent report that the scheme, while falling well short of fundamental reform, had enabled some of the wealth created by the urban land market to trickle down to the countryside.

    Two huge constraints impede the government's efforts to liberate the countryside's economic potential. The first is confusion over land-ownership. Unlike urban land, which is state-owned but freely traded, rural land is defined as “collectively” owned. It has never been made entirely clear whether officials, or peasants, control collective rights. Officials fear that giving peasants a right to trade their homes and farmland would cut the ties that bind rural hukou-holders to the countryside and lead to the creation of Mumbai-like slums. They sneer at India for its urban squalor.

    Chinese scholars are bitterly divided over how to proceed. Opponents of rural land reform say the global financial crisis has proved their point: millions of migrant workers in the cities lost their jobs as export industries slumped, but because they had land to go back to there was no major unrest. In Chongqing, officials at the dipiao trading centre are nervous that any adverse publicity even about their cautious experiment might fuel a backlash. This would complicate their tentative plans for something more adventurous: trial runs of mortgaging rural homesteads. The possible impact of foreclosures on rural stability is the conservatives' worst nightmare.

    Mouths to feed

    The other constraint is the Chinese government's deep-rooted fear that domestically produced grain may be insufficient to feed the country. It has decreed that a minimum of 120m hectares of arable land be preserved for this, a “red line” that officials say is already close to being crossed. Some Chinese experts argue that the line is arbitrary, that efficiencies of scale could considerably boost output and that China could rely more on the global grain market to supplement its needs. But memories of a famine from 1959 to 1961 that killed millions of people, and a fear that relying on imports could threaten China's security, make officials adamant that the line must not be breached. This means that even if land trading were to be liberalised, many peasants (or migrants with rural hukou) still could not cash in fully.

    [​IMG]
    Wouldn't the City be a better idea?

    Pu Yongjian of Chongqing University laments that the central government has failed to give the municipality enough leeway to experiment. He says that in 2007, when Chongqing was instructed to carry out trial reforms, it expected to enjoy freedoms similar to those bestowed on the city of Shenzhen, next to Hong Kong, in the 1980s and 90s. Shenzhen was even able to set up a stockmarket, though party conservatives scorned it. “We haven't got that kind of power, so what's the point of calling it an experimental zone?” asks Mr Pu.

    The groundwork, at least, for more radical change is at last being laid. A nationwide push has begun to issue rural households with certificates stating what land they farm and what residential property they occupy. These, potentially, could be used as proof of ownership should the government eventually decide to encourage a rural property market. The government said in December that it wanted the task to be completed within three years. It will be tough work, hampered by decades of haziness over where boundaries lie.

    Chongqing municipality, having got an early start, hopes to finish handing out its certificates next year. But in rural Chongqing, change still seems slow. The village of Shuangxi in the hills north-east of Chongqing city has been designated by local officials as a reform trailblazer. Its peasants were encouraged to give up their land-use rights to a dairy company, which used the fields to produce fodder. All but a dozen households agreed, in return for a share of the rent paid by the company.

    Li Longhui, Shuangxi's party chief, wants to go further. By persuading the farmers to move from their freestanding homes into new three-storey apartment blocks, the village has recovered 33 hectares of land (10% of its total area). Ms Li would like to trade this on the dipiao market, but complains that the price is still too low. So far the local government has borne the cost of Shuangxi's housing upgrade, its new school and the recreation area where elderly villagers dance to revolutionary songs. Recouping the money, says Ms Li, would mean selling village land for industrial use. That is still heretical.

    Migration in China: Invisible and heavy shackles | The Economist
     
  16. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Hukou is not a hurdle?

    You are a 'migrant' worker?

    Urban or rural?

    Skilled or unskilled.

    That will answer much!

    Upadate?

    Please visit for a more wholesome view on China and its Hukou System:

    http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/china/42160-hukou-system-china-need-change.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  17. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    it doesnt matter if u r a han or tibetan or hui....u r free to move where ever u like (hans can go to tibet.....and tibetans can go to beijing) to live or work.....which cant be affectted by hukou.....

    what hukou has been doing is something like.....if ur hukou is put in beijing then bascially all the things u can benifit from your social welfare system only exisit in beijing.........which means while u can get retirement pay in shanghai (if u choose to live in shanghai rather than beijing) your medical insureance may not cover anything bad happens to your body in places other than beijing (so if u r in shanghai then thats whats gonna happen) of coz unless u ve bought some individual insureance which is not social ones.......

    besides if u wanna put your kids in school in shanghai when your family hukou is in beijing then tution fee can be much higher (so u d better stay in beijing and put your kids in beijings school if u r not rich or just disspointed with beijings school)...etc etc.......

    so hukou is not something necessarily stops u from doing anything legal in any part of china but normally u wont do that sort of things too much......

    and apart from hukou system some other new policies introduced lately also making people a bit hard to live somewhere else......for example to curb real eastate bubbles....many big cities in prc now make outsiders very hard to buy houses.......of coz again if u r rich enough u wont mind that........

    and your hukou registered place can be changed...its time consuming and hard though....but today its much easier then maybe 20 years ago....
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  18. huaxia rox

    huaxia rox Senior Member Senior Member

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    1 yes 'western culture is invading China'...even i wear jeans.......and go to KFC.....and i watched batman movie the other day......

    2 something here needs to be distingushed.....housing problem is now getting serious in prc seemingly due to huge population and limited land resources....anyway people who ever can afford buying 1 will go buy 1.....so yesterday u might be proud of living with your family your papa and mama today its better to buy a new house to live separastely....and only with your wife and kids.....of coz if something serious happens u will go back to look after your parent.......all above is different than some in rural areas who cant live together becoz they r migrant workers etc.......

    3 shenzhen is not tier 2 city in prc i suppose....i live in shenzhen and of coz i think shenzhen is tier 1 city.....although developed only for some 30 years and built from basically nothing...........
     
    Known_Unknown and chase like this.
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Please read all the posts on the hukou system that has been merged.

    Wearing Jeans and eating at KFC does not indicate becoming westernised as eating Chinese takeout around the world would not make a chap A
    Chinese or wearing combat fatigues make one a Delta Force soldier!

    A rather disingenuous argument!

    The words that you are missing out which is the crux are - Culture and Tradition!
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Once again, to clear the air.

    What is the Hukou System?

    Hukou system

    hukou is a record in the system of household registration required by law in the People's Republic of China (mainland China) and in the Republic of China (Taiwan). The system itself is more properly called "huji", and has origins in ancient China.
    A household registration record officially identifies a person as a resident of an area and includes identifying information such as name, parents, spouse, and date of birth.

    A hukou can also refer to a family register in many contexts since the household registration record is issued per family, and usually includes the births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and moves, of all members in the family.

    Family registers were in existence in China as early as the Xia Dynasty (c. 2100 BCE - 1600 BCE). In the centuries which followed, the family register developed into an organization of families and clans for purposes of taxation, conscription and social control.

    Household registration in China

    The Communist Party instigated a command economy when it came to power in 1949. In 1958, the Chinese government officially promulgated the family register system to control the movement of people between urban and rural areas. Individuals were broadly categorised as a "rural" or "urban" worker. A worker seeking to move from the country to urban areas to take up non-agricultural work would have to apply through the relevant bureaucracies. The number of workers allowed to make such moves was tightly controlled. Migrant workers would require six passes to work in provinces other than their own. People who worked outside their authorized domain or geographical area would not qualify for grain rations, employer-provided housing, or health care. There were controls over education, employment, marriage and so on.

    Rationale

    With its large rural population of poor farm workers, hukou limited mass migration from the land to the cities to ensure some structural stability. The hukou system was an instrument of the command economy. By regulating labour, it ensured an adequate supply of low cost workers to the plethora of state owned businesses. Like the internal passports of the Soviet Union, the hukou system allowed the state to provide preferential treatment to industrial workers and intelligentsia who would be more likely to protest and even revolt during periods of unrest.[citation needed]
    For some time, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security continued to justify the hukou system on public order grounds, and also provided demographic data for government central planning.

    The Hukou system has been justified by some scholars as increasing the stability of China by better monitoring of "targeted persons", people who are politically dubious by the Party's standards. This is still a significant function as of 2006 (and even now). (italics mine)

    Enforcement

    From around 1953 to 1976, Police would periodically round up those who were without valid residence permit, place them in detention centres and expel them from cities.

    Administration regulations issued in 1982 known as "custody and repatriation" authorized police to detain people, and "repatriate" them to their permanent residency location.

    Although an individual is technically required to live in the area designated on his/her permit, in practice the system has largely broken down. After the Chinese economic reforms, it became possible for some to unofficially migrate and get a job without a valid permit. Economic reforms also created pressures to encourage migration from the interior to the coast. It also provided incentives for officials not to enforce regulations on migration.

    Technology has made it easier to enforce the Hukou system as now the police force has a national database of official Hukou registrations. This was made possible by computerisation in the 1990s, as well as greater co-operation between the different regional police authorities.

    During the Great Leap Forward's famine

    During the mass famine of the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962, having an urban versus a rural hukou could mean the difference between life and death. During this period, nearly all of the approximately 600 million rural hukou residents were collectivized into village communal farms, where their agricultural output - after state taxes - would be their only source of food. With institutionalized exaggeration of output figures by local Communist leaders and massive declines in production, state taxes during those years confiscated nearly all food in many rural communes, leading to mass starvation and the deaths of more than 30 million Chinese.

    The 100 million urban hukou residents, however, were fed by fixed food rations established by the central government, which declined to an average of 1500 calories per day at times but still allowed survival for almost all during the famine. An estimated 95% or higher of all deaths occurred among rural hukou holders. With the suppression of news internally, many city residents were not aware that mass deaths were occurring in the countryside at all, which was essential to preventing organized opposition to Mao's scheme.

    Many of the starving peasants tried to flee to the cities to beg for food, but tight security at entry points and through regular inspections of resident documents on the streets led to the deportation and subsequent death of most. In fact, it was only when rural family members of higher military officers, who were often isolated from the countryside in cities or bases, began dying from starvation that higher Communist officials began seriously worrying about the stability of the state, and eventually forced Mao to end the program. This was the most extreme demonstration of how much impact a different hukou could have in China, but significant interference in all aspects of life only began declining in the 1980s and 1990s.

    Effect on rural workers

    From around 1953 to 1976, the restriction of a citizen's rights by his domicile caused rural citizens to be separated into an underclass. Urban citizens enjoyed a range of social, economic and cultural benefits that China's rural citizens did not receive. The ruling party did however make some concessions to rural workers to make life in rural areas "survivable... if not easy or pleasant".

    From 1978 to 2001, while China changed from state socialism to market capitalism, export-processing zones were created in city suburbs and migrants, most of them female, worked there under conditions far below the contemporary standard of western countries. There were restrictions upon the mobility of migrant workers that forced them to live precarious lives in company dormitories or shanty towns where they were exposed to abusive treatment.

    The impact of the hukou system upon migrant laborers became onerous in the 1980s after hundreds of millions were ejected from state corporations and cooperatives. Since the 1980s, an estimated 200 million Chinese live outside their officially registered areas and under far less eligibility to education and government services, living therefore in a condition similar in many ways to that of illegal immigrants. The millions of peasants who have left their land remain trapped at the margins of the urban society. They are often blamed for rising crime and unemployment and under pressure from their citizens, the city governments have imposed discriminatory rules. For example, the children of farm workers are not allowed to enroll in the city schools, and even now must live with their grandparents or other relatives in order to attend school in their hometowns. They are commonly referred to as the home-staying children. There are around 130 million such home-staying children, living without their parents, as reported by Chinese researchers.

    Some China-based scholars claim that though the Hukou system is discriminatory, it is not significantly different than the passport system keeping people from developing countries from resettling in the West.

    Reform

    Reformation of hukou has been controversial in the PRC. It is a system widely regarded as unfair by citizens of the PRC, but there is also fear that its liberalization would lead to massive movement of people into the cities, causing strain to city government services, damage to the rural economies, and increase in social unrest and crime.

    And yet, there has been recognition that hukou is an impediment to economic development. China's accession to the World Trade Organization has forced it to allow reformation to hukou in order to liberate the movement of labor for the benefit of the economy.

    Further relaxation of the system has happened since the 1990s. A provision was made to allow the rural resident to buy "temporary urban residency permits" so the resident could work legally within the cities. The fee for these permits decreased over time and have become reasonably affordable. The inheritance of hukou was changed to allow succession through the lines of both the father and the mother, which corrected the disadvantage of hukou against rural women.

    Hukou has been further weakened since 2001. In 2003, after protests over the death of Sun Zhigang alarmed the government, the laws of custody and repatriation were repealed. By 2004 over 100 million rural citizens were working in cities, according to the estimate of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

    Chan and Buckingham's (2008) article, "Is China Abolishing its Hukou System," argues that previous reforms have not fundamentally changed the hukou system, but have only decentralized the powers of hukou to local governments. The present hukou system remains active and continues to contribute to China's rural and urban disparity.

    The system is currently only partially enforced, and it has been argued that the system will have to be further relaxed in order to increase availability of skilled workers to industries.

    Hukou system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Here is now the Hukou system is causing problems for migrant workers:

    ******************

    China’s migrant problem: the need for hukou reform

    In December 2009 China’s Central Economic Work Conference announced policy initiatives of hukou (household registration) reform and the absorption of migrant workers into small-medium cities. Although the renewed national strategy can certainly be seen as a welcome sign to address this fundamental issue, the majority of migrants are clustered in metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The local governments in these cities will need to devise their own coping strategies to deal with the pressure and tension over limited infrastructure and resources.

    Beginning last year, Shanghai and a number of other cities have started a ‘point system’ to grant ‘well-qualified’ migrant workers permanent residency. But to many migrants’ disappointment, the eligibility requirements are so stringent that less than 0.1 per cent of migrants would be qualified to apply. This is not surprising. With local government financing social security, social welfare and social relief, it is unfeasible for city governments to provide all migrant workers with social benefits and public services in the same way as their urban counterparts within a short time frame. Nevertheless, a system that handpicks ‘top’ migrants (those well endowed with financial assets, human capital or both) will only encourage cities to cream off the few ‘best’ ones without addressing the general issues that affect the livelihood of millions.

    To make things more complicated, in some areas, land grabbing in the name of hukou reform has also taken place. Farmers are forced to give up their land in exchange for urban residents’ status with no real entitlements to social benefits. Considering the range of difficulties and the degree of complexity associated with hukou reform, there is no simple and quick solution. In the short run, pilot programs in restricted areas could serve as informative policy experiments to explore possible policy options. In the medium and long run, it is still up to the local governments to delineate feasible strategies to manage the urbanisation process and to contribute to the development of a rural-urban integrated social welfare system. It is up to the central government to align the diverse interests in order to address the long-standing institutional issues.

    The 50-year old hukou system is a legacy of the dualistic economy, serving as a highly effective measure of limiting migration and keeping farmers tied to the land. While government controls over labour migration have been largely relaxed since 1990s, migrant workers often remain second-class citizens in cities due to their non-local hukou status. Such inferiority manifests itself in forms of discrimination in job markets and deprivation of social benefits and public services. And migrant children often miss out on education opportunities because hukou is inherited,.

    Such a system is unfair and has caused much grievance and social tension for many migrant workers, who face great difficulties in their daily lives. The rigidity of the hukou policy, and its implication of entitlement to social benefits and public services, have also suppressed migrant workers’ consumption. With no realistic prospect of settling down, migrants are guest workers. They often spend as little as possible in cities and send the bulk of their income back home. This is clearly at odds with efforts to boost domestic demand in order to address imbalance and keep growth in a more sustainable fashion.

    More fundamentally, the current (mis)treatment to migrants hinders labour mobility and adversely affects productivity growth. Sizeable rural surplus labour may be unwilling or unable to move to more productive urban sectors due to various restrictions associated with their hukou status. As the rest of the country moves forward, the divide between the haves and the have-nots is likely to become greater. Meanwhile, impediments to mobility can obscure the real labour supply and send the false signal of depleting rural surplus labour. Consequently, the national economic development strategy may gear up to higher capital and technological intensity. If this happens, many rural poor will be permanently trapped in the low-productivity pockets and fail to catch the train to economic prosperity, forever.

    To achieve long-run economic growth and social stability, China needs to address this long-standing hukou problem. But reforming the restrictive hukou system is no easy undertaking. The Hukou system is intertwined with social policy reforms on all fronts: pension, health care, social insurance, education and housing. It will affect not only China’s 140 million migrant workers, but also the rural communities they leave behind. And, of course, the urban population needs to be prepared at the receiving end. That makes everyone involved.

    China’s migrant problem: the need for hukou reform | East Asia Forum
     

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