Undo the discriminatory hukou system to achieve ‘cities of dream’?

1. Chan, Kam Wing. 2013, February 4. Turning China’s cities with invisible walls into cities of dreams. East Asian Forum (accessed 25 April 2013).

2. Chan, Kam Wing. 2013, January 19. China’s hukou system stands in the way of its dream of prosperity. South China Morning Post (accessed 25 April 2013). [Earlier version of 1.]

1. During a widely publicised tour of Shenzhen, China, the new head of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, called for the realisation of the ‘Chinese dream’ — a great national revival.

Shortly after that, the Chinese character meng (dream) was voted ‘character of the year’ in an online poll of 50,000 people.

As China enters the urban age, a critical part of the Chinese dream is the ‘urban dream’: the promotion of urbanisation to generate household consumption to put the economy on a sustainable footing. This would steer China away from its currentexport- and investment-driven growth model, which has long been considered, even by the government, as ‘unbalanced’ and ‘unsustainable’.

Premier-designate Li Keqiang has championed urbanisation for years. Some media pundits are excited by his talk of a new type of urbanisation, though details are scant. Can he do it right and help China reach its urban dream?

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2. Dreams are in vogue in mainland China. During a widely publicised tour of Shenzhen, the new head of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping , called for the realisation of the “Chinese dream” – a great national revival. Right after that, the Chinese character meng (dream) was voted “character of the year” in an online poll of 50,000 people.

The new year also began with a political storm over a censored article dreaming of Chinese constitutional reform. Whether those dreams are more like a fantasy than realistic hope remains to be seen.

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Related

  • Chan, Kam Wing. (1994) Cities with invisible walls : Reinterpreting urbanization in post-1949 China, Oxford university press, 194 p.
  • Chan, Kam Wing and Will Buckingham. (2008) Is China abolishing the hukou system? The China quarterly, 195, pp. 582-606. [Full text here]
  • 陈, 金永. 2013年05月13. 户籍改革路线图. 财新《新世纪》. [Accessed 28 May 2013].
  • 陈, 金永. 2013年06月1.十五年完成户籍改革. 财新《中国改革》. Dowload PDF here.
  • Kam Wing Chan webpage

 


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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