Tag Archives: rural migrants

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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The second generation of rural migrants in Shanghai

Lan, Pei-chia (2014). Segmented incorporation: The second generation of rural migrants in Shanghai. The China Quarterly, 217, p 243-265. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S030574101300146X

This article looks at the changing frameworks for the institutional and cultural incorporation of second-generation rural migrants in Shanghai. Beginning in 2008, Shanghai launched a new policy of accepting migrant children into urban public schools at primary and secondary levels. I show that the hukou (household registration) is still a critical social boundary in educational institutions, shaping uneven distribution of educational resources and opportunities, as well as hierarchical recognition of differences between urbanites and migrants. I have coined the term “segmented incorporation” to characterize a new receiving context, in which systematic exclusion has given way to more subtle forms of institutional segmentation which reproduces cultural prejudice and reinforces group boundaries.

Monique Abud

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

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Chinese social policy in a time of transition

Besharov, Douglas and Baehler, Karen, eds. (2013). Chinese social policy in a time of transition. Oxford University Press. 368 p. ISBN 978-0-19-999031-3

The story of China’s spectacular economic growth is well known. Less well known is the country’s equally dramatic, though not always equally successful, social policy transition. Between the mid- 1990s and mid-2000s—-the focal period for this book—-China’s central government went a long way toward consolidating the social policy framework that had gradually emerged in piecemeal fashion during the initial phases of economic liberalization. Major policy decisions during the focal period included adopting a single national pension plan for urban areas, standardizing unemployment insurance, (re)establishing nationwide rural health care coverage, opening urban education systems to children of rural migrants, introducing trilingual education policies in ethnic minority regions, expanding college enrolment, addressing the challenge of HIV/AIDS more comprehensively, and equalizing social welfare spending across provinces, among others. Unresolved is the direction of policy in the face of longer-term industrial and demographic trends—-and the possibility of a chronically weak global economy. Chinese Social Policy in a Time of Transition offers a foundation from which to explore those issues based on a composite snapshot of Chinese social policy at its point of greatest maturation prior to the 2007 global crisis.

Monique Abud

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

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Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements

Li, Zhigan1, Wu, Fulong2 (2013) Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Urban Geography. Published online: 22 Jul 2013 [Ahead of print]

China’s informal settlements—villages inside urbanized areas—are often characterized by local governments as dirty, chaotic, and dangerous places. This negative discourse inevitably leads to recommendations for demolition. A number of criteria have been invoked in state decisions regarding the demolition of informal settlements; however, rarely are these places evaluated from the residents’ perspective. This paper, following a long tradition of residential satisfaction research in Western nations, uses a household survey to examine this topic in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. We find that local contexts not only matter, but may be the principal determinants of residential satisfaction. The residential satisfaction of village dwellers is not necessarily low, and most socioeconomic attributes are not statistically significant determinants of resident satisfaction. Migrants and low-income groups are not less satisfied than nonmigrants or middle-range income earners; the most important determinant is social attachment within the community. The perception of being excluded, or lacking neighborhood social attachment, significantly reduces residential satisfaction. No facilities can compensate for this negative exclusion factor. We conclude that demolishing informal settlements does not help to build a “harmonious society,” which is the purported goal of such programs. Removing the social and institutional barriers for migrant integration into the city is likely the most effective way to enhance residential satisfaction and neighborhood quality.

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  1. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation , School of Geography and Planning Sun Yat-sen University
  2. Bartlett School of Planning , University College London

Monique Abud

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

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Street vendors: poor and indesirable in the city

Solinger, Dorothy J. (2013). Streets as suspect: State skepticism and the current losers in urban China. Critical Asian Studies. 45(1) pp.3-26

Abstract

The Chinese Communist Party has been suspicious of people engaged in commercial activity on the streets ever since it took over the country in 1949, but the reasons for this have shifted in a paradoxical way over the decades. In the years when Mao Zedong ruled the nation according to his understandings and beliefs about socialist values and for several years after his death the suspicion in the main concerned the capitalist practices that business entails – profit making, inequalities, price-consciousness, class differentiation. Except for a few short intervals, doing non-state trade or providing private services was banned. In the first few decades after 1980, marketing outside was treated more leniently, although fees and licenses were still required in order to avoid harassment, and peasant migrants faced challenges. But once millions of people were laid off after 1995, the Party hoped to enable them to make a living, and also to prevent them from protesting, so it gave them special leeway to work outside from stalls and even directly on the pavement. After the mid 2000s, however, the indigent – the majority of whom were probably once members of the ideologically sacrosanct proletariat – have, ironically (in light of the values of the past) been discouraged from appearing on city streets to make money. Thus now that capitalist activity is common, the impoverished are considered to damage the city appearance, so that instead of capitalism being banned, it is the interests just of large-scale moneymakers that are to be served.

Monique Abud

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

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