Migration in China and Europe

In a paper published last January Cheng Jianquan, Craig Young, Zhang Xiaonan and Kofi Owusu attempted to compare internal migrations in the EU and in China1.

The authors acknowledge that comparing migrations in China and in Europe is problematic because of the different nature of both regions (a single country vs. a group of states), and because of their political and socio-economic diversity. This explains why few scholars have adopted this comparative approach. The authors justify their comparison with the size of both entities, and the restrictions and absence of restrictions (hukou, Schenghen area) on movement in both regions.

In spite of these limitations, through means of a solid review of modelling used in previous studies, the authors list several key variables that could be used to compare internal migrations in Europe and China, namely: population size, distance (for example, their first results found that European migrants are more affected by cultural distance, language, history, than Chinese migrants), contiguity, GDP per capita, income difference, unemployment rate, migration network, and migration restriction.

The authors argue that comparing migration patterns in China and Europe could be a useful exercise, but they found that data sets need to be harmonised on the European side, and that there needs to be more cooperation between both regions to study this phenomenon.

  1. Cheng Jianquan, Young Craig, Zhang Xiaonan & Owusu Kofi (2014). Comparing inter-migration within the European Union and China: an initial exploration. Migration studies, January 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014 from http://migration.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2014/01/06/migration.mnt029.full []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)

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