Tag Archives: hukou

Which type of urbanization better matches China’s factor endowment

Wen, Guanzhong James and Jinwu Xiong. (2013) Which type of urbanization better matches China’s factor endowment : a comparison of population-intensive Old Puxi and Land-Capital-Intensive New Pudong. Frontiers of Economics in China, 8(4), pp. 516-534. URL: http://journal.hep.com.cn/fec/EN/10.3868/s060-002-013-0026-2 (Retrieved 10 December 2014)

Based on a comparative study of New-Pudong (East Shanghai) and Old-Puxi (West Shanghai) in their respective ability to absorb rural migrants, the very essence of urbanization, this paper finds that, constrained by the current hukou (household registration) system and land tenure system, although New-Pudong has emerged as one of the most modernized urban areas in the world, it did so under an urbanization model that is government-dominant and characterized by high land-intensity and capital-intensity. This model represents a serious mismatch in terms of China’s factor endowment that is characterized with a large but relatively poor rural population. In sharp contrast, guided by the market mechanism under private land ownership and free migration, Old-Puxi emerged as an urbanization model that was very adaptable to China’s factor endowment and stage of development. Therefore, as a model of endogenous urbanization, Old-Puxi is more efficient and inclusive, at the same time more sustainable economically and environmentally, and for this reason more applicable to China at a time when China needs to urbanize most of its rural population urgently to avoid the further worsening of the rural/urban divide and income disparity.

Read full text (open access)

 

 

Monique Abud

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

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Prof Chan’s proposal on hukou reforms.

Here, at UrbaChina, we have already presented Prof. Kam Wing Chan’s proposals on possible Hukou reforms.

On December 17, the Wall Street Journal1 interviewed Prof Chan (University of Washington) on the reasons why hukou system needs to be liberalized.

the-paulson-institute-logo

 

Prof Chan’s full report on Hukou reforms can be dowloaded at the Paulson Institute.

  1. China’s closed cities threaten population goals, report says. Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from http://www.wsj.com/articles/BL-CJB-25307 []

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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City Versus Countryside in Mao’s China: Negotiating the Divide

 

Jeremy Brown (2012). City Versus Countryside in Mao’s China: 
Negotiating the Divide. Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 9781107424548.

The gap between those living in the city and those in the countryside remains one of China’s most intractable problems. As this powerful work of grassroots history argues, the origins of China’s rural-urban divide can be traced back to the Mao Zedong era. While Mao pledged to remove the gap between the city worker and the peasant, his revolutionary policies misfired and ended up provoking still greater discrepancies between town and country, usually to the disadvantage of villagers. Through archival sources, personal diaries, untapped government dossiers, and interviews with people from cities and villages in northern China, the book recounts their personal experiences, showing how they retaliated against the daily restrictions imposed on their activities while traversing between the city and the countryside. Vivid and harrowing accounts of forced and illicit migration, the staggering inequity of the Great Leap Famine, and political exile and deportation during the Cultural Revolution reveal how Chinese people fought back against policies that pitted city dwellers against villagers.

For more information about this book: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/history/east-asian-history/city-versus-countryside-in-maos-china-negotiating-divide?format=PB?format=PB

Link to book review by Yixin Chen (2013) at The China Quarterly, Volume 214, June 2013 pp 479-480: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?aid=8944098

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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The hukou converters

Deng, Quheng and Bjorn Gustafsson (2014). The hukou converters : China’s lesser known rural to urban migrants. Journal of Contemporary China, 23 (88), 657-679. DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2013.861147.

This article studies people born in rural China who now live in urban areas of China and possess a residence permit, an urban hukou; these are the hukou converters and they are examined using large datasets covering substantial parts of China in 2002. According to our estimates, there are 107 million hukou converters constituting 20% of the registered population of China’s urban areas. Presence of a high employment rate in the city, that the city is small or medium-sized, and that the city is located in the middle or western part of China are factors which cause the ratio of hukou converters in the registered city population to be comparatively high. The probability of becoming a hukou converter is strongly linked to having parents with relatively high human and social capital and belonging to the ethnic majority. Compared to their rural-born peers left behind, as well as to migrants who have kept their rural hukou, the hukou converters have much higher per capita household incomes. Years of schooling and CPC membership contribute to this difference but most of the difference remains unexplained in a statistical sense, signalling large incentives to urbanise as well as to receive an urban hukou. While living a very different life from their peers left behind, the economic circumstances of China’s hukou converters at the destination are, on average, similar to the urban-born population. Hukou converters who receive an urban hukou before age 25 do well in the labour market and we have reported indications that they actually overtake urban-born peers regarding earnings. In contrast, hukou migrants who receive an urban hukou after age 25 do not catch up with their urban-born counterparts in terms of earnings.

Monique Abud

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

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Media coverage of UrbaChina’s 4th International Conference

CTV News reported on the development of the conference interviewing, among others, UrbaChina’s coordinator François Gipouloux, and LSE professor Athar Hussain.

Captura de pantalla 2014-06-11 a las 11.51.23

Please click on the following link to watch the report:

http://tv.people.com.cn/n/2014/0528/c150716-25077655.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Household registration reform and peri-urban precarity in China

Smith, N. R. (2014). Living on the edge: household registration reform and peri-urban precarity in China. Journal of Urban Affairs. doi: 10.1111/juaf.12107

China’s household registration system divides the nation into urban and rural populations, conditioning life chances and producing widespread inequity. Recent reform experiments in Chongqing have met with mixed success, as many residents have declined to convert to urban registration. This article ethnographically investigates the rationales and strategies of residents in Hailong, a village in Chongqing where residents were reluctant to participate in household registration reform. For Hailong residents, the state-sponsored welfare offered through urban registration was perceived as a source of exploitation and precarity. In search of stability, Hailong residents developed informal welfare strategies, including mutual support networks and economic diversification. By forcing residents to give up their land rights and adopt urban roles, household registration reform threatened these informal strategies. The article concludes by exploring the policy implications of this analysis, including the possibility of developing formal welfare programs that complement—rather than replace—informal strategies.

Monique Abud

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

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城鎮化新藍圖的突破與不足

On April 2, 2014, Prof. Chan published another article1 in Chinese on the lack of real breakthrough in China’s recent urbanisation plan.

自1949年起,中國始建城鄉二元體制,推行「中國式」城鎮化, 以法律、政治手段將社會、人口、勞動力等割裂成不平等的兩塊,並將戶籍制度與城鎮化緊緊綑綁。1979年前,戶籍制度將城鄉人口嚴格隔離。改革開放後,人口流動放寬,大量農民工進城打工但戶籍仍在農村,於是城市中產生一個龐大但無戶籍的「外來人口」群體,人數從1980年代初的20多萬,增至目前的2.4億,佔總人口17%。而如此龐大的「二等公民」群體將不利於社會安定

Prof Kam Wing Chan’s full article

 

  1. Kam Wing Chan  陳金永 (2014). Chengzhen hua xin lantu di tupo buzu城镇化新蓝图的突破与不足. Ming Bao明报 . April 2, 2014 []

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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The unknowns in China’s great urban change

Last week (March 27, 2014), Prof Kam Wing Chan (University of Washington) published on China’s urban challenges in the South China Morning Post.

After more than a decade of mostly empty talk, China has finally announced a bold move to grant urban hukou status to 100 million people by 2020. The target is a major component of China’s new urbanisation plan, which represents a significant commitment towards achieving genuine urbanisation.

In the past two to three years, urbanisation has been refashioned to drive growth and remake the Chinese economy in the coming decades. To accomplish that, it is essential to allow migrants living in cities to have a full urban hukou, and thus be able to access basic urban services.

Prof Kam Wing Chan’s full article

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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China releases plan to incorporate farmers into cities

The government plans to move 215 millions people from rural areas to cities by the year 2025. One of the results awaited by the Chinese government by sustaining urbanisation is the creation of a consumer culture driving Chinese economy and raising standard living. But this plan will generate side effects concerning the integration of farmers moved into cities such as the lack of infrastructures (transports, houses, schools, hospitals) and the restricted access to public services for the people who are still registered as rural residents while they live since many years in the city. 

“Currently, nearly 54 percent of Chinese live in cities, but only 36 percent are registered as urban residents (…). The plan calls for integrating 100 million of these second-class citizens, so that by 2020, 60 percent of Chinese should be living in cities, with 45 percent enjoying full urban status, the plan states”.

According to urban planners, to make this plan effective, the government will have to carry out two complementaries reforms which are taxe reform, in order  to give more financial capacity to local authorities for investing into infrastructures, and farmers’ land rights reform, in order to give them the choice to keep or live their land. Two major reforms still however in the planning phase, according to Tao Ran, the acting director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy

 

For more information, read the full article: Johnson, Ian. China Releases Plan to Incorporate Farmers Into CitiesThe New York Times, March 17, 2014. [Retrieved March 19, 2014].

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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Beijing’s low-wage migrants: hikers in the urbanisation and growth process

Liu, R., Wong, T.-C. and Liu, S. (2013), Low-wage migrants in northwestern Beijing, China: The hikers in the urbanisation and growth process. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 54:3, pp. 352–371. doi: 10.1111/apv.12029

Abstract

In the post-Mao era from the 1980s, market reforms have seen profit-led neoliberal forces being introduced into China’s urban spatial movements. In supporting such movements, labour mobility is allowed but the hukou system has been retained to prevent urban informality and slum formation and to control municipal public expenses. Without residency permits granted by the host cities, low-wage rural migrants enjoy little ‘right to the city’ and are deprived of local welfare and benefits. They often become ‘drifting tenants’, frequently driven by urban renewal, rising rentals and change of jobs. This study examines the spatial effect of causes (residency system) and consequences (frequent shifts in residence) experienced by low-skilled and low-wage migrants. A survey was conducted from February to mid-April 2011 in northwestern Beijing’s Great Zhongguancun area which shows and the marginalised state of displaced migrant tenants. This includes their adaptations to change, the pattern, causes and history of their intra-city mobility.

 

Monique Abud

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

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China’s Li Keqiang about urbanization

Economy, Elizabeth C. 2013, September 10. China’s Li Keqiang on the urbanization warpath. Asia Unbound. http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2013/09/10/chinas-li-keqiang-on-the-urbanization-warpath/ (accessed 19 September 2013)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on the urbanization warpath. For Li, urbanization—transforming rural Chinese into urban dwellers—has become perhaps the most important issue of his early months as premier. Most recently, on September 7, in advance of November’s Party Plenum to lay out the country’s economic blueprint, he met with a group of experts to discuss urbanization strategies. Scarcely a month goes by where he does not give a speech or offer some commentary on the issue. For Li, successfully urbanizing China is at the heart of the country’s ability to continue to grow economically. He notes that urban residents spend 3.6 times more than rural residents, for example, underscoring the importance of urbanization to China’s economic rebalancing from an investment and export led to   consumption-based economy. His remarks in March 2013 make clear his fears that if China does not find the correct urbanization path forward, it will fall into the trap of many Latin American countries with “dual” urban structures characterized by “urban slums” and “other social problems.”

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Monique Abud

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

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Informal sector – Xiao Wang (小王)

Informal sector - Xiao Wang (小王), Elosua Miguel

 

This photo was taken in Shanghai in September 2013. Motorbike drivers wait for customers at the entrance of the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau. A ride to the nearest subway usually takes five minutes and costs between 8 and 15 RMB, depending on the negotiation skills of the client.

Xiao Wang (left) has been doing this job for seven years already. In one day he can make more than 150RMB, around 4500RMB per month, well above the average salary of a migrant worker (in 2009, 30% of migrant workers did not earn more than 1100 RMB per month)1, and the equivalent of a taxi driver’s average income, although net of taxes. He came to Shanghai from the neighbouring Anhui province 10 years ago with his wife, who works as a domestic helper (baomu – 保姆,or ayi  阿姨,which means “aunt”, a common term for domestic helpers in China).  Xiao Wang worked in a factory first, only to become an entrepreneur when he made enough savings to buy a motorbike. Since he could not afford to buy a Shanghai licence plate (the Government of Shanghai runs auction sales and the auction price of a plate reached more than 90,000RMB in 2013), he bought and registered the motorbike in Anhui (vehicles registered elsewhere cannot circulate on elevated highways during peak hours). Among his fellows, there are also many Shanghai locals who joined the informal sector after the massive layoffs that took place as a consequence of the restructuring of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the mid-1990s.

The couple have a daughter, who is eight years old now and lives with Xiao Wang’s parents in Anhui. They send money every month to pay for her education. For a long time they could only travel back home for the Chinese New Year, but they can afford to do it twice a year now. Communication with their daughter is done through weekly telephone calls. New technologies and smart phones are still absent from their lives.

Back in Anhui, they had land to cultivate, but income from land was meagre. The agricultural tax had not been abolished yet, and agricultural allowances were paltry. Therefore, they decided to leave the land idle and migrate to the booming coastal city of Shanghai, like many other farmers from this province. After a few years, they rented out the land to another villager for 300RMB per mu (1 mu = 1/15 ha.) a year. This does not represent an important sum to the household economy but its significance is tied to the interest in keeping the land. Leaving land idle may cause them to lose it in the next round of land distribution in the village, something they cannot accept. As it is often the case with migrants in China, their heart still belongs to their hometowns. There is no sense of identity with the host city. This mentality contrasts with other inflow cities like New York, where migrants tend to identify with the city almost instantly. One of the main reasons for this lack of identification with the big city lies in the hukou system, which remains as a stumbling block to the full integration of rural citizens. Since migrant workers do not have access to urban welfare benefits, they are trapped mid-transition from rural to urban.

Xiao Wang is part of this group of migrant workers – approximately 150 million – who work in the informal sector: they lack a formal job, formal housing, and formal citizenship. They have to prepare for any eventuality, something that has made them China’s biggest savers group. Granting full citizenship to migrant workers would remove an important obstacle for upward social mobility and respectability. It would also increase tax revenues and would help the country stabilise the economy, encouraging migrant workers like Xiao Wang to reduce savings and increase spending.

  1. 2009 Nian nongmin gong jiance diaocha baogao, National bureau of statistics of China, http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjfx/fxbg/t20100319_402628281.htm (accessed 3 September 2013 []

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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China’s low income urban housing

Cook, Ian G., Gu, Chaolin and Halsall, Jamie (2013) China’s low income urban housing . Asian Social Science. 9 (3) pp. 7-17. ISSN 1911-2017. DOI: 10.5539/ass.v9n3p7

In this paper, firstly the authors briefly outline the historical legacies of inner-city housing that are the focus for redevelopment today, and then summarise the legacy of mass housing built by the work-unit or danwei in the Maoist era. The bulk of the paper, however, is then concerned with the switch to privatisation (via ‘market socialism with Chinese characteristics’) in the Reform Period under Deng Xiaoping and his successors, and the role of land policy that forms an important constraint on housing provision. Demand for low-income housing is in part due to the continuation of the Maoist hukou registration system which acts as a major barrier to full participation in the housing market and consequently China’s cities now have a huge migrant non-hukou ‘floating population’ (liudong renkou) that must be housed via alternative means, preferably as cheaply and effectively as possible. There is also the situation of the ‘ant tribe’ of young low-paid college graduates to consider. For people like these renting in overcrowded conditions is one option, but because of China’s unique development trajectory, (driven by the Chinese Communist Party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, self-help housing is not a major form of housing provision, therefore there are few examples to consider. Hence, we discuss several examples of China’s low income urban housing.

Download PDF (free access)

 

Monique Abud

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

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How to dismantle the hukou household registration system?

Prof. Kam Wing Chan, university of Washington, has recently released his proposal for a possible hukou reform. The problems caused by hukou have been widely discussed, but Chinese authorities fear the consequences of its dismantling. For prof. Chan, the persistence of this policy prevent the growth of the middle class, which is necessary to build a consumer-based economy. 

According to his research, the hukou reform needs to be progressively implemented in order to make its financial costs bearable for local government, and so hukou could be dismentled by 2030. To obtain this result, prof. Kam suggests to adopt a three-step-approach. Graduates should be the first group free from hukou registration. This policy would not threaten cities’ social security system as gradautes because of their youth and higher qualifications, are net contributors to social welfare.

Then, houselhold registration should be made easier for skilled workers. Chinese cities urgently need more qualified people in order to upgrade their productions. As skilled workers get higher wages, this second move would not endanger social welfare programmes.

The last part of this proposal is of course the most ambitious, since it has for objective to resolve registration issues for the remaining  migrants.  But for prof. Chan, China can afford this policy if the two former groups have already been turned into urban citizens. Thanks to the  contributions of graduates and skilled workers, cities would be able to strenghten their welfare programmes and so they could integrate other migrants. 

Prof Kam Wing Chan’s full text proposal

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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