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Annual report on urban development of china 2013 (current chinese economic report series)

Current Chinese Economic Report Series

Jiahua Pan
Houkai Wei Editors

Annual Report
on Urban
Development
of China 2013


Current Chinese Economic Report Series


More information about this series at http://www.springer.com/series/11028


Jiahua Pan • Houkai Wei
Editors

Annual Report on Urban

Development of China 2013


Editors
Jiahua Pan
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Beijing, China

Houkai Wei
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Beijing, China

Sponsored by Innovation Project of CASS
ISSN 2194-7937
ISSN 2194-7945 (electronic)
Current Chinese Economic Report Series
ISBN 978-3-662-46323-9
ISBN 978-3-662-46324-6 (eBook)
DOI 10.1007/978-3-662-46324-6
Springer Heidelberg New York Dordrecht London
© Social Sciences Academic Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015
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Preface: Breaking the Existing Pattern of Rights
and Privileges to Accelerate the Process of


Citizenization

In China, the process of allowing more rural migrants into urban areas to become
registered city residents (citizenization) remains stagnant despite its importance to
the Chinese government and the existence of a national consensus about it. Why is
that? Is experience available from other countries? How do we solve this problem?
Perhaps through institutional inertia, vested interests are hindering the process of
citizenization in China. Derived from China’s hukou system, or household registration system, that unfairly favors urban residents over rural ones, the inequitable
distribution of benefits between institutionally favored groups and others, and
between state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private companies, for example, has
resulted in advantaged groups and vested interests obviously wanting to maintain
and cement this pattern while the disadvantaged groups and those whose interests
are damaged are unable to change it.
In China, cities can compulsorily purchase land from farmers at low or even no
costs, but most profits from added land value are usually unavailable to farmers who
rely on land for a living, generation after generation. Assuming annual profits of one
trillion yuan1 from land trades and transfers across China, then China’s cities can
absorb a total of 10 million rural migrants at the cost of 100,000 yuan per migrant
or 20 million at the cost of 50,000 per migrant. Unfortunately, children of migrant
workers in China are deprived of the right to compulsory education despite the fact
that these workers pay taxes in their host cities and their employers pay the so-called
“city construction fees” and “educational surcharge”. Payments to migrant workers
should be able to cover basic expenses of the family. In particular, they should cover
not only the costs of necessities and the living support for dependents such as the
elderly and the disabled, but also the cost of raising children. In some cities, however, the rights and interests of migrant workers are overlooked. Local governments
may go so far as to conspire with relevant companies to underpay and/or postpone
payment to these workers. Even some state-owned organizations offer unequal
1

Wu Jinglian noted at the China Development Forum held on March 23–25, 2013 that the Chinese
government had earned 30 trillion yuan from expropriating farmland for urbanization, http://
finance.qq.com/a/20130323/001590.htm
v


vi

Preface: Breaking the Existing Pattern of Rights and Privileges to Accelerate…

opportunities and payments to employees depending on whether they subscribe to
the aforementioned unfair institutional arrangements or not. Decision makers in
certain Chinese cities seem to believe in the theory of cost while ignoring that of
rights or benefits in an apparent attempt to favor vested interests. There are also
think tank members who, despite their supposedly interest-neutral nature, employ
biased methods and draw prejudiced conclusions. Nonetheless, such incomplete
urbanization, which can be compared to catching fish by means of draining the pond
entirely, is doomed to be unsustainable and is certainly unlikely to make the Chinese
Dream come true.
The provision of equal opportunities and basic support in the process of urbanization in developed countries deserves closer study. Take Chinese people who have
gone to study in the United States for example. After graduation, except for a minority who stay in the academic or research sectors, they tend to work in private companies or start their own business. It seems clear that there are few difficulties caused
by the institutional bias evoked above.2 In Japan, the urbanization rate was only
27.8 % in 1945 but increased rapidly to 72.1 % 25 years later, a rate nearly twice
that of China. To provide workers with housing, Japan spent public funds building
public hostels. It was in the early 1960s that Japan launched a program to decentralize human, financial and physical resources from big cities to smaller towns, thereby
facilitating the employment and citizenization of Japanese people in their respective
places of residence.3 In the period between independence and the early 1980s,
Singapore, as one of the four Asian Dragons, became industrialized and urbanized
rapidly. The Housing Development Board (HDB) provided 80 % of Singaporeans
with apartments within only some 20 years. In the 1990s, there were nearly 90 % of
Singaporeans living in buildings provided by the HDB. In the twenty-first century,
the HDB has launched the Studio Apartments (SAs) program for the aging population. One-bedroom SAs are 35 or 45 m2 in size and sold on 30-year leases at SGD
47,800–71,700.4 With a small territory and high population density, and by adopting
a combination of state monopoly and privatization policies, Singapore has managed
to achieve near-universal coverage of housing assistance while at the same time
securing a fuel for national development in the long term.5
Breaking down the existing distributive pattern of rights and privileges requires
legislation and law enforcement. We are unable to maximize national and social
interests if our cities are at the same time aiming to maximize their own interests
while ignoring those of rural migrant workers. It is similarly impossible to assure

2

The Heilongjiang Morning Post reported on January 5, 2013 that the city of Harbin publicly
recruited cleaners from around China and that 7 of the 29 candidates who had master’s or doctoral
degrees had got the job.
3
Lan Jianzhong: “How did Japan turn farmers into registered city residents”, Reference News,
April 24, 2013, p. 11.
4
Lawrence Chin, 2004. Public Housing Governance in Singapore: Current Issues and Challenges,
Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore.
5
Wong Tai-chee and Guillot Xavier, 2004. A Roof over Every Head: Singapore’s Housing Policy
between State Monopoly and Privatization. IRASEC-Sampark, p. 256.


Preface: Breaking the Existing Pattern of Rights and Privileges to Accelerate…

vii

the financial and social interests of 260 million rural migrant workers only through
the efforts of the 31 migrant workers who are delegates to the National People’s
Congress (NPC).6 Before reform and opening up began, the distributive pattern of
benefits in the Chinese society was relatively simple, which was one of urban–rural
dichotomy. After that, the distributive pattern, while remaining in essence dualistic,
i.e., pitting urban against rural areas, features a larger number of and finer-grained
categories, including those with either urban or rural hukou, and those with either
urban or rural hukou that live in metropolitan areas, as well as those who lack of
hukou registered in cities (or towns).
To break through the existing distributive pattern of rights and privileges, we
must first legally clarify and confirm the social costs and benefits of citizenization
so as to let everyone who contributes to China’s industrialization and urbanization,
whether he/she is an old or new citizen, or a rural migrant not yet registered on the
local hukou system, benefit from its reform and development. We should know what
the costs and benefits are. Second, we should make laws to decentralize social and
economic resources and make them market-oriented. The reasons why Tier 1 cities
and provincial capitals are suffering serious urban problems, such as being overburdened with a great number of rural migrants, primarily include the monopoly of
economic and social resources caused by the centralization of administrative powers. In China, almost all the best education, medical, cultural, sports and other
resources are centralized in Tier 1 cities and provincial capitals. In contrast there is
a shortage of job opportunities in Tier 3 and 4 cities, where people often find it difficult to make a living. Third, and most important, is law enforcement instead of
selective law enforcement. We should say that China already has a rather complete
legal system consisting of the labor law, the compulsory education law, the social
security law and so on. Nonetheless, some cities and decision makers opt for selective law enforcement or the circumvention of particular laws, making it impossible
to effectively enforce laws. The average salary income at a monopolistic SOE
should never be much higher than the average national income if it is all-peopleowned; proceeds from the sale of reserved land for urban development, if it is stateowned, can add much to the fund for building houses that ensure the citizenization
of rural migrants. The constitution grants people the right to vote and be voted for,
which should not be denied where rural migrants work and live.
With institutional arrangements that lead to an urban–rural dual structure,
Chinese cities have been receiving direct and indirect benefits from rural migrants
since the country began the process of reform and opening up. But at the same time
they have overlooked, or even refused, to give citizenization-relevant benefits to
such migrants. This has greatly hindered the process of citizenization while continuously increasing the already high social, economic and environmental costs. Workers
recruited from rural areas before China began the process of reform and opening up,
6

In China, the number of migrant-worker delegates to the NPC increased to 31 for the 12th NPC
from three 5 years ago; they represent 260 million migrant workers. Yao Xueqing: “Thirty-one
migrant-worker delegates to the NPC: they speak for 260 million migrant workers”, People’s
Daily, March 12, 2013.


viii

Preface: Breaking the Existing Pattern of Rights and Privileges to Accelerate…

as well as university graduates in the 1980s and the 1990s, typically lived in less
comfortable dormitories and received low wages/salaries. Nonetheless, they had
access to basic security and rights. With regard to the citizenization of rural migrants,
they do not need benefits available to the white-collar elite, nor do they expect to
live in luxurious houses. While contributing their labor and wisdom to the host
cities, they need basic housing, education, medical care, political rights, labor benefits and equal opportunities. Since the citizenization of rural migrants clearly
makes sense from the social, economic and legal perspectives, it should and can be
implemented. To this end, we need only to break through the existing pattern of
interests and respect the citizenization-relevant rights of rural migrant workers.
Beijing, China

Jiahua Pan


Contents

1

2

3

Overall Strategy for Promoting the Citizenization
of Rural Migrant Workers .....................................................................
Jiahua Pan

1

Evaluating China’s Cities for Scientifically-Sound
Development ............................................................................................
Jingjing Shan, Zhanyun Wu, and Ya’nan Geng

47

The Evolution of China’s Migrant Worker Policies
for Since 1978 ..........................................................................................
Shunjiang Huang

81

4

The Status of Migrants in Cities and Innovations
in Social Management............................................................................. 101
Min Du

5

Cost Estimation and Cost Sharing Mechanism
for Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers....................................... 129
Jingjing Shan

6

Methods for the Citizenization of Migrant Workers
in Megacities ............................................................................................ 149
Yanting Ni and Yingchang Song

7

Approach to and Suggestions for Further Reform
of the Hukou System ............................................................................... 163
Liejun Wang

8

Encouraging Farmers to Migrate with Asset ....................................... 195
Xueyuan Chen

9

Establishing a Unified Urban-Rural Fair
Employment System ............................................................................... 215
Meng Li and Qimin Peng

ix


x

Contents

10

Promoting Universal Coverage of Basic Public
Services Among Urban Residents .......................................................... 237
Ning Wang and Yeqiang Wang

11

Improving the Social Security System for Migrant Workers.............. 255
Hongyu Li and Shangpeng Liang

12

Strengthening Housing Security for Migrant Workers ....................... 275
Xin Dong


Editors and Contributors

Xueyuan Chen is in a post-doctoral program at the IUE and focuses his research on
integrated urban and rural development, reforming of the rural property rights system, and rural collective economy.
Xin Dong is a Ph.D. in Economics and associate researcher at the IUE who focuses
on real estate economics.
Min Du holds a Ph.D. in management and is an associate researcher at China
Population and Development Research Center (CPDRC) who focuses on demographic economics.
Ya’nan Geng is a candidate for a master’s degree at the Department of Urban
Development and Environment, the Graduate School of the CASS, who focuses on
urban and regional management.
Shunjiang Huang is an associate researcher at the IUE who focuses on researching
urbanization.
Hongyu Li is Director, the Urban Planning Research Office, the IUE, and
Chairperson, the Urban Policy and Culture Research Center, who focuses on urban
planning and sustainability.
Meng Li is an associate researcher at the IUE whose research focuses on urban/
environmental economics and sustainable development.
Shangpeng Liang is a postgraduate student at the IUE who focuses on urban economics and researches urban and regional development.
Yanting Ni is a doctoral candidate at the IUE who focuses on urban and regional
management.

xi


xii

Editors and Contributors

Jiahua Pan is Director of Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies (IUES),
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and Professor of Economics at CASS
Graduate School, Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese Journal of Urban and Environmental
Studies. Received his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1992. Areas of study
include: economics of sustainable development, energy and climate policy, world
economy and environmental and natural resource economics. Worked for the UNDP
Beijing Office as an advisor on environment and development; Lead author of the
IPCC Working Group III 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessment Report on Mitigation;
Member of China National Expert Panel on Climate Change; Member of National
Foreign Policy Advisory Group; Advisor to the Ministry of Environment Protection.
Vice president of Chinese Association for Urban Economy, vice president of the
Chinese Society of Ecological Economists, vice president of Chinese Energy
Association. Co-editor of Climate Change 2001: Mitigation, published by
Cambridge University Press, and author or co-author of over 300 papers, articles
and books in both English (including Science, Nature, Oxford Review of Economic
Policy) and Chinese (including Journal of Economic Research and China Social
Sciences). Winner of First and Second prize for best research work, Chinese
Academy of Social Sciences (2002, 2004 and 2013). Winner of Sun Yefang Prize in
Economic Science, 2011. Named China Green Person of the Year 2010/2011.
Qimin Peng is an associate researcher at the National Key Laboratory of Integrated
Information System Technology, the Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of
Sciences, who focuses on social computing, integrated information processing and
smart city.
Jingjing Shan is researcher of IUES, CASS. Main areas of research include: urban
and regional planning and development strategies. Led or participated in the drafting of both general and topical economic and social development plans for more
than 20 cities or areas. Head of research team for 28 research projects, including 19
commissioned by provincial governments. Some of these projects have been funded
by the National Social Sciences Fund of China, CASS, and the Foundation for
Young Scholars; Authored, co-authored or edited 17 books; Published over 50
papers in both English and Chinese, and wrote over 50 research reports; Author or
co-author of more than 10 policy proposals submitted to the State Council.
Yingchang Song is deputy director-general and researcher of IUES, CASS;
Director-general of the Office of Urban and Regional Management; Professor and
doctoral advisor in Urban and Environmental Studies Department, CASS Graduate
School; Executive director of China Society of Urban Economy; Member of the
Academic Committee of Regional Planning and Urban Economy of UPSC; Member
of the expert committee of the Association for Promoting Administrative Districting
and Regional Development in China; Member of Academic Advisory Board,
Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation; Head of research team for six key
or major research projects supported by the National Social Sciences Fund of China
and CASS, and 20 local government-commissioned projects; Author of 4 monographs, and over 50 articles and chapters in core academic journals such as Journal


Editors and Contributors

xiii

of Geographical Sciences, Geography Research, Urban Planning, Urban
Development Studies, Economic Geography, Urban Planning Forum, and Journal
of Population Studies.
Liejun Wang is an associate researcher and Director of the Research Office, the
Social Development Research Department, the DRC.
Ning Wang is a candidate for a doctoral degree at the Department of Urban
Development and Environment, the Graduate School of the CASS, who focuses on
public services.
Yeqiang Wang is associate research fellow at IUES, CASS, and deputy secretarygeneral of the Research Center for Western China, CASS. Received M.Sc. from
Nanjing University and Ph.D. in Economics from CASS Graduate School; Postdoctoral researcher at Institute of Fiscal Science, Ministry of Finance; Author or
co-author of over 10 papers published in core national academic journals, including
Management World, China Industrial Economics, Statistical Research, Economic
Geography, Finance and Trade Economics, and 2 of them were reprinted by Renmin
University of China’s Information Center for Social Sciences. The paper first published in China Economic Journal was indexed in the Taylor & Francis database,
and reprinted in Revista de Economie Industriala, a Romanian journal. Authored,
co-authored or edited 6 books; Participated in many research projects supported by
National Social Sciences Fund of China and National Natural Science Foundation
of China, and the drafting of many local economic and social development plans.
Houkai Wei is deputy director of IUES, CASS and director-general, professor and
doctoral advisor in Urban and Environmental Studies Department, CASS Graduate
School; Recipient of the State Council Special Governance Allowance; Elected
director-general of the Research Center for Western China, CASS; Deputy secretarygeneral of the Regional Science Association of China and China Society of Regional
Economic Development; Elected deputy director-general of the Academic Committee
on Regional Planning and Urban Economy of the Urban Planning Society of China
(UPSC), and the Natural Resources Economy and Planning Committee of the
Chinese Society of Economics of Geology and Mineral Resources; Assistant professor at Peking University, Shandong University, Sichuan University, Minzu University
of China, Hunan University, Hunan Normal University, Henan University, Northwest
University; Head of research team for over 60 key CASS and government-commissioned projects; Author or chief editor of over 20 books, over 300 papers in both
English and Chinese language journals such as Social Sciences in China and
Economic Research Journal. More than 50 of these were reprinted in Xinhua Digest
and the Renmin University of China’s Information Center for Social Sciences;
Winner of over 20 national or provincial-level awards for outstanding research;
Author or co-author of over 20 policy proposals submitted to the State Council.
Zhanyun Wu is a postdoctoral researcher at the IUE, who focuses on urbanization
and urban/regional planning.


Chapter 1

Overall Strategy for Promoting
the Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers
Jiahua Pan

As China has rapidly industrialized since it began the process of reform and opening
up, a great many farmers have shifted out of agriculture and are now working or
studying and living in towns or cities, leading to a fast increase in China’s
Urbanization rate. However, given that reform of the hukou system has stagnated, as
well as the fact that social security and public service systems prioritize urban areas
over rural ones, rural migrant workers are not treated in the same way as native
urban residents in terms of employment and welfare, despite being counted as part
of the urban population. This has led to a low citizenization rate. As a result, a new
dual structure consisting of rural migrant workers and native urban residents has
come into being in Chinese cities at a time when the long-standing urban-rural dual
structure has yet to be eliminated. This has severely hindered the building of a harmonious society and the urbanization of China. To remove such a dual structure as
soon as possible, the Communist Party of China (CPC) made it clear in the report to
the 18th CPC Congress that it would accelerate reform of the hukou system, systematically promote the citizenization of rural migrant workers, and endeavor to cover
the entire permanent urban population with basic public services. Later on, the CPC
announced at the Central Economic Work Conference that it would prioritize the
systematic promotion of the citizenization of rural migrant workers. In this new
situation, a key challenge in promoting and improving urbanization in China will be
how to systematically promote the citizenization of rural migrant workers by adopting effective policies and measures.

J. Pan (*)
Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies (IUES), Chinese Academy
of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing, China
© Social Sciences Academic Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015
J. Pan, H. Wei (eds.), Annual Report on Urban Development of China 2013,
Current Chinese Economic Report Series, DOI 10.1007/978-3-662-46324-6_1

1


2

J. Pan

 itizenization of Rural Migrant Workers: Definition
C
and Meaning
The term “the citizenization of rural migrant workers” first appeared in the report to
the 18th CPC Congress held in late 2012. It is consistent with “steadily promot[ing]
the turning of rural migrant workers into urban residents” mentioned in the 12th
Five-Year Plan.
In order to gain a clear understanding of the citizenization of rural migrant workers, we should first make clear the meaning of rural migrant workers. In a broad
sense, rural migrant workers include people who have moved to towns or cities from
the countryside and people who have shifted to non-agricultural sectors from agriculture. These two groups are closely tied to each other, on the one hand, and differ
from each other, on the other. But both of them mainly comprise people who have
moved to urban areas to work or do business there. In addition to these people, the
first group includes their family members, suburban farmers who have lost their
land1 and rural people who have moved to towns or cities for education, marriage or
other reasons; the second group includes people who have otherwise moved to
towns or cities to work there and who work in non-agricultural sectors in the countryside. In a narrow sense, rural migrant workers mainly refer to people with rural
hukou who work at local township and village enterprises (TVEs) or who have
moved to towns or cities to work in non-agricultural sectors. It is intended to replace
the concept of “migrant workers”. Although the CPC Central Committee has proposed the citizenization of rural migrant workers, the focus of many scholars, such
as Jin Sanlin (2013), Jin Zhongxia and Xiong Lu (2013), and Zhang Guiwen (2013),
is still non-local migrant workers in the cities. The citizenization of these workers is
more difficult than that of farmers who have lost their land and local migrant workers. Since non-local migrant workers constitute the vast majority of rural migrant
workers, we have focused our study on this group.
While the definition of the citizenization of rural migrant workers varies from
scholar to scholar, the differences aren’t significant. It is believed by some that the
citizenization of rural migrant workers refers to a situation whereby, after making
occupational changes, rural migrant workers secure social status and rights equivalent to those of residents with urban hukou and gain equal access to public resources
and social welfare in the host towns or cities. It would also mean that they get fully
involved in political, economic, social and cultural activities, thereby achieving
financial security, social acceptance, identity and cultural integration (Jin Sanlin
2013). It is believed by others that the citizenization of rural migrant workers refers
to the process where rural migrant workers find jobs in the host towns or cities and
ultimately become urban residents who have received permits for permanent
­residence in these places and gained equal access to public services for urban
­residents (Jin Zhongxia and Xiong Lu 2013). It is also believed by some that the
 They refer to rural people who have lost all the contracted land due to expropriation for urban
construction.
1


1  Overall Strategy for Promoting the Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers

3

citizenization of rural migrant workers refers to the process where, and the result
that, rural people become truly integrated into urban life and are accepted by native
urban residents after going through changes in location, occupation, lifestyle,
behavior and hukou, making improvements in overall competence, and subscribing
to civic values (Qiu Pengxu 2013).
To sum up, we believe that the citizenization of rural migrant workers is the process where rural migrant workers, or former-farmers, turn into city resident registered city residents. Specifically, it refers to the process that, while going through
migration and occupational changes, rural migrant workers become urban residents
who have received permits for permanent residence in the host towns or cities and
gained access to social welfare and political rights equal to those available to native
urban residents. The citizenization of rural migrant workers means much more than
people having their rural hukous changed to urban ones. It is in fact a process
whereby after receiving urban hukou, rural migrant workers are treated in the same
way as native urban residents in terms of political rights, jobs, social security, public
services and others, while getting gradually integrated into the host cities in terms
of values, social identity and lifestyle. As a result, the citizenization of rural migrant
workers will be a very long process. It chief marks are:
Change in Social Status  Today, a large number of rural migrant workers are
counted as part of the permanent urban population, but still have rural hukou. In
short, their residency status as farmers remains unchanged. They still carry the
stigma as “migrant workers” even though they are already settled in the host towns
or cities. As a result, the citizenization of rural migrant workers requires the reform
of the hukou system to be expedited so that rural migrant workers may soon rather
than later obtain permanent residence in the host towns or cities, thereby becoming
part of the urban residents in these places.
Equality in Terms of Political Rights  In China, the political rights of urban and
rural residents have long been closely linked with their hukou. Today, few rural
migrant workers in Chinese towns or cities are denied the rights to vote or run in
elections, and to participate in community management. But they are faced with
severe inequality in political rights when compared with native urban residents. The
citizenization of rural migrant workers requires that rural migrant workers be
granted the same rights to political participation as those of native urban residents,
including the rights to vote or be voted for, to participate in the administration and
discussion of state affairs, to form trade unions, and to participate in community
management.
Full Coverage by Public Services  Today in China, public services and social
security policies are essentially linked with hukou and prioritize urban areas over
rural ones. Accordingly, rural migrant workers typically do not have equal access to
public services and social security benefits. The citizenization of rural migrant
workers aims to ensure that these migrants and native urban residents have equal
access to public services and social security benefits relevant to employment, child
education, medical care, social insurance, housing assistance and social assistance,


4

J. Pan

thereby promoting the full public-service coverage of the permanent urban
­population while protecting rural migrant workers from being discriminated against
in terms of public services.
Improvements in Financial and Living Conditions  Given limitations in professional competence, education level and money, rural migrant workers tend to have
low incomes and quality of life and are apparently behind native urban residents in
terms of financial and living conditions. The citizenization of rural migrant workers
requires a continuous increase in the incomes of rural migrant workers and assistance in improving their housing and living conditions. This will gradually reduce
gaps between them and native urban residents and help them make the transformation from farmers into registered city residents in terms of lifestyle and patterns of
consumption. Only by changing the lifestyle can rural migrant workers really get
integrated into urban life.
Improvements in Overall Cultural Competence  Rural migrant workers are far
from meeting requirements for modern registered city residents as they are under-­
educated and short of occupational training with lower overall capability. Such cultural capability affects occupational choices made by rural migrant workers,
increases income inequalities, and weakens their sense of belonging to the host city.
For this reason, some native urban residents will have prejudices against rural
migrant workers. As a result, the citizenization of rural migrant workers requires
helping rural migrant workers improve their overall competence including professional skills, education levels and so on.
Extensive Acceptance Across the Host Society  In order for rural migrant workers
to turn into registered city residents and become really integrated into urban society,
extensive acceptance is also required. On the one hand, rural migrant workers are
supposed to have a sense of belonging to the city, achieve self-identity and view
themselves as part of the urban residential population. On the other hand, social
discrimination and prejudice against rural migrant workers should gradually
disappear before these migrants are extensively accepted across the host society.
Only after they achieve such self-identity and are accepted by others at the same
time, can rural migrant workers integrate with native urban residents.

 urrent Rural Migrant Workers in China: Citizenization
C
Status
The urbanization of China is primarily characterized by a large number of rural
migrant workers with a low citizenization rate. A thorough understanding of the
number and characteristics of rural migrant workers as well as their citizenization
status constitutes the basis and precondition for proposing a scientifically reasonable citizenization strategy and developing practicable citizenization ­
policies/
measures.


1  Overall Strategy for Promoting the Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers

5

Rapid and Steady Growth in Number
Nowadays, the number of rural migrant workers is increasing rapidly and steadily
in China. A review of rural-urban migration since China began the process of reform
and opening up shows that the growth of the number of non-local migrant workers
as part of the population of rural migrant workers is obviously characterized by five
stages due to the effects of China’s macro-economy and macro-level policies (see
Fig. 1.1):
Stage 1 was a period of migration to the nearest location in the 1980s. Since the
household responsibility system was implemented in rural areas shortly after
China began the process of reform and opening up, a large part of the rural labor
force shifted to TVEs, leading to a migration model in which farmers left farmland but still worked in their hometowns. It was during this stage that the number
of non-local migrant workers increased to 30 million people in 1989 from about
two million people in 1983, or an annual average growth of about five million
people.
Stage 2 was a period of interprovincial migration in the early 1990s. As a great
many jobs were created in China’s coastal regions thanks to fast economic
growth and rapid transition to a market economy after Deng Xiaoping’s southern
tour in 1992, the number of rural migrant workers grew sharply to 70 million
people in 1995, or an annual average growth of nearly seven million people.
Stage 3 was a period of slow growth in the late 1990s. Some cities imposed restrictive measures on the recruitment of migrant workers under the pressure to create
jobs for incoming farmers, new members of the urban labor force and the

Fig. 1.1  Five stages in the growth of the number of Chinese non-local rural migrant workers
(Source: data of 1983, 1989 and 1993 is from the Research Team, the Research Office of the State
Council (2006); data of 1996 and 2006 is from the first and second National Agricultural Census;
data of the 2008–2011 period is from the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS) (2012);
data of the remaining years is from surveys by the NBS)


6

J. Pan

u­ nemployed. As a result, the number of rural migrant workers increased at a
lower rate in China. Among them, the number of non-local migrant workers
increased to 78.49 million people in 2000 at an annual average rate of only about
1.7 million people.
Stage 4 was a period of compensatory rebound in 2001 and 2002. Under the policy
of “Remove unreasonable restrictions on the rural labor force’s entry into towns
or cities for jobs, and guide its migration between urban and rural areas and
between regions” specified in the 10th Five-Year Plan,2 a compensatory rebound
occurred in the growth of the number of rural migrant workers in China. In 2001,
the number of non-local migrant workers reached 83.99 million people; in 2002,
it was 104.7 million people, an increase of more than 24 % or 20.71 million
people year on year.
Stage 5 is a period of fast and steady growth since 2003. With continuous policy
incentives, the number of rural migrant workers has entered a period of steady
growth. In 2012, the number of non-local migrant workers reached 163.36 million people, or an annual average growth of about six million people. Non-local
migrant workers in Chinese towns and cities (their total number is estimated on
a 95.6 % basis3) represent a nearly constant share, or about 21.5 % on average, of
the urban population since 2003. In 2012, for example, that share was 21.9 %.
The contribution of such migrant workers to the Urbanization rate increased to
11.5 percentage points in 2012 from 7.8 percentage points in 2002, or an annual
average growth of 0.37 percentage points.

Numbers and Characteristics
 here Were About 240 Million Rural Migrant Workers in Towns
T
and Cities, or Around One Third of China’s Urban Population in 2012
There were about 240 million rural migrant workers in Chinese towns and cities, or
around one third of China’s urban population (712 million people) in 2012.
Specifically, there were about 156 million non-local migrant workers, or 21.9 % of
 Before the outline of the 10th Five-Year Plan was released, the then General Office of the Ministry
of Labor (MOL) issued the Opinions on Creating Jobs for the Surplus Labor Force in early 2000.
In June, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council co-issued the Opinions on Promoting
the Healthy Growth of Small Towns and Cities. In July, Chinese ministries/commissions such as
the MOL, together with the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), co-issued
the Notice on Furthering the Pilot Program of Creating Jobs for the Rural Labor Force. All these
documents proposed that rural-urban migration be promoted and that unreasonable restrictions on
farmers’ entry into cities for jobs be removed. In late 2001, the then State Planning Commission
(SPC) required that seven charges relevant to migrant workers be cancelled by the end of February
2002. These policies and plans jointly led to the compensatory growth of the number of rural
migrant workers in 2001 and 2002.
3
 In 2009, 95.6 % of Chinese non-local migrant workers worked in towns or cities (the Department
of Rural Surveys, the NBS 2010).
2


7

1  Overall Strategy for Promoting the Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers
Table 1.1  The number of rural migrant workers in China’s urban population (in million)
Total population
Urban population
People with rural Hukou among urban population
People with rural Hukou in cities
People with rural Hukou in towns
Floating population in urban population
Floating population in cities
Floating population in towns
Non-local migrant workers in towns and cities

2010
1,341
670
310 (46.3 %)
145
165
187 (27.9 %)
133
54
146 (21.8 %)

2012
1,354
712

156 (21.9 %)

Source: the calculations are based on the Tabulation on the 2010 Population Census of the People’s
Republic of China, the China Population & Employment Statistics Yearbook 2011, the Migrant
Workers Monitoring Survey Report 2011, and the Statistical Bulletin of the People’s Republic of
China on the 2008 National Economic and Social Development
Note: the parenthesized percentages are the shares in the urban population. The number of non-­
local migrant workers in towns and cities was estimated on a 95.6 % basis

China’s urban population. They contributed 11.5 percentage points to China’s
Urbanization rate. If we estimate the number of local migrant workers who work or
live in towns or cities on a 40 % basis, then that number is about 40 million people.
There are about 50 million farmers who have lost their land (Wei Houkai et al.
2011). The other people represent a small portion of the population.
Since raw statistics about rural migrant workers are unavailable, we made an
estimate using data relevant to people with rural hukou, the floating population and
the number of non-local migrant workers in China’s urban population. The results
are shown in Table 1.1 and Fig. 1.2.
1. People with rural hukou as part of the urban population refers to the entirety of
permanent urban residents with rural hukou, including non-local migrant workers who permanently live in towns or cities and permanent urban residents with
rural hukou such as farmers in formerly rural areas reclassified as cities but still
basically under rural governances, a kind of quasi-city and sometimes called
“villages inside cities”, farmers who have lost their land, some local migrant
workers and farmers in city districts. In 2010, there were 310 million people with
rural hukou, or 46.3 %, of China’s urban population. They contributed 21.5 percentage points to China’s urbanization rate. This number included 145 million
people with rural hukou in cities and 165 million such people in towns.
2. The floating population in the urban population refers to urban residents who have
left the places where their hukous are registered for at least half a year (excluding
people who live in city districts and have left the places where their hukous are
registered for at least half a year), including farmers living in quasi-­cities, i.e.,
landless farmers, and local migrant workers. In 2010, the floating population in
Chinese towns and cities reached 187 million people, or 27.9 % of China’s urban


8

J. Pan

Fig. 1.2  Make-up of China’s urban population, 2010 (Source: this figure is based on data in
Table 1.1)

population, who contributed 13.9 percentage points to China’s Urbanization rate.
It included 133 million people in cities and 54 million ones in towns.
3. Non-local migrant workers in the urban population. In 2012, there were 263 million migrant workers in China, including 163 million non-local ones. If 95.6 %
of them worked in towns and cities, then there were about 156 million non-local
migrant workers in these places, or 21.9 % of the urban population, who contributed 11.5 percentage points to the Urbanization rate.
 hose Whose Families Migrate with Them Always Represent
T
About 20 % of All Non-local Migrant Workers
With regard to staying with their families or not, rural migrant workers mainly
include those whose families migrate with them and those who migrate alone. NBS
survey data shows that from 2008 to 2011, the ratio of migrant workers who
migrated with their families to those who migrated alone was always around 1:4. In
other words, migrant workers who migrated with their families represented about
20 % of all non-local migrant workers (see Fig. 1.3). We may therefore estimate
that, of 163.36 million non-local workers in 2012, there were about 33 million of
them who migrated with their families, and the remaining 130 million were those
who migrated alone.


1  Overall Strategy for Promoting the Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers

9

Fig. 1.3  Family migration characteristics of non-local rural migrant workers, 2008–2012. Note:
the number of non-local migrant workers who migrated with their families in 2012 was estimated
on a pro rata basis (Source: data of the 2008–2011 period is from the Migrant Workers Monitoring
Survey Report 2011, and data of 2012 is from the Statistical Bulletin of the People’s Republic of
China on the 2012 National Economic and Social Development)

 nder-Educated Young Men Represent the Majority of Non-local
U
Migrant Workers
The sex ratio of Chinese migrant workers is nearly unchanged since 2008, as men
represent about two thirds of all such workers. In 2011, for example, men represented 65.9 % of all Chinese migrant workers (the NBS 2012). With regard to age,
most non-local migrant workers are younger than 40 years of age. In 2011, for
example, there were about 130 million non-local migrant workers younger than 40
years of age, or 81.8 % of all such workers. Among them, those born after 1980, or
the new-generation migrant workers, represented over 60 % of all non-local migrant
workers. With regard to educational background, those at the level of junior high
school or lower represent about three quarters of all non-local migrant workers. In
2011, for example, those at the level of junior high school or lower represented
74.5 % of all non-local migrant workers, including 62.9 % at the level junior high
school, 10.7 % at the level of elementary school, and 0.9 % at the level of illiteracy
or near-illiteracy (the NBS 2012).
 astern Region Are the Leading Destination of Non-local
E
Migrant Workers, but with a Decreasing Percentage
In China, the eastern region has long been the leading destination of non-local
migrant workers, while central and west regions are the leading source of them. In
2009, 68.1 % of all 145 million non-local migrant workers across China were from


10

J. Pan

central and west regions; 62.5 % of them went to the eastern region (the Department
of Rural Surveys, the NBS 2010). In other words, the majority of non-local migrant
workers left central and western regions for eastern ones, especially the Pearl and
Yangtze River deltas. Nonetheless, with their rapid economic growth in most recent
years, central and western regions combine to have an increasing percentage in
received non-local migrant workers, whereas eastern regions see a rapidly decreasing percentage. The number of migrant workers who move between provinces in
particular has been decreasing, leading to a change in the situation where they represent the majority of all non-local migrant workers. In 2011, for example, there
were 74.73 million migrant workers who moved between provinces, or 47.1 % of all
non-local migrant workers in China (the NBS 2012), which was 6.2 percentage
points lower than in 2008.
The floating population in towns and cities can reflect the status of non-local
migrant workers from another perspective. In 2010, the floating population in towns
and cities in eastern regions was 107.91 million people, or 57.6 % of China’s floating population; it was 38.30 million people in central regions and 41.11 million
people in western regions, or 20.4 % and 22.0 % of China’s total population respectively. Specifically, the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shandong
took the lead and combined to represent 36.5 % of China’s floating population in
towns and cities (see Fig. 1.4). Of the interprovincial floating population in 2011,
72.45 % was from the provinces of Anhui, Sichuan, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi and
Guizhou; 86.81 % went to Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu and
Fujian (the Department of Floating Population Service and Management (DFPSM),

Fig. 1.4  Distribution of floating population in towns and cities by province, 2010 (Source: this
figure is based on population sampling survey data from the Tabulation on the 2010 Population
Census of the People’s Republic of China)


1  Overall Strategy for Promoting the Citizenization of Rural Migrant Workers

11

the National Population and Family Planning Commission of People’s Republic of
China (NPFPC) 2012).
 ost Migrant Workers Are in Industries Such as Manufacturing,
M
Construction and Traditional Services
Since they are under-educated and short of professional skills, non-local migrant
workers tend to be in industries with low skill requirements, such as manufacturing,
construction and traditional services. 2010 population census data shows that most,
or 71.9 %, of the sampled 14.37 million non-local migrant workers, were in fields
such as production, transport equipment operation, commerce and services.
Specifically, those in the fields of production and transport equipment operation
represented 40.6 %; those in the fields of commerce and services, 31.3 %; technicians, 11.0 %; those in the other four categories, 17.1 % (see Fig. 1.5). And according to an NBS survey (2012), most migrant workers have long worked in
manufacturing, construction and traditional services, which received 36.0 %, 17.7 %
and 34.2 % of all such workers respectively, or a combined 87.9 %, in 2011. As for
traditional services, resident and other services represented 12.2 %; wholesale and
retail, 10.1 %; hotel and restaurant, 5.3 %; transport, warehousing and postal service, 6.6 %.

Fig. 1.5  Distribution of non-local rural migrant workers by occupation (Source: this figure is
based on population sampling survey data from the Tabulation on the 2010 Population Census of
the People’s Republic of China)


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