Wednesday, November 02, 2005

More on China's Hukou

A link to this report on the hukou by the Congressional Executive Commission on China landed in my inbox earlier today.

Basically it goes over the same info I wrote about earlier today. What I'm interested in are it's conclusions:

Rural-urban migration, continuing discrimination against rural hukou holders in the provision of public services, and recent reforms that liberalize restrictions for the wealthy and educated are helping create an excluded migrant underclass. The hukou division between haves and have-nots, previously a rural-urban divide, has been exported to China’s cities.56

China’s hukou policies are not the sole cause of the difficulties confronting China’s migrants, but the hukou system exacerbates existing problems. First, by limiting labor mobility, hukou policies contribute to growing income disparity between China’s urban and rural areas.57 Second, official policies reinforce prevailing negative social attitudes toward poor migrants. Third, they have led to the emergence of officially sanctioned discrimination against migrants in urban areas. The hukou divide reinforces the gap between urban haves and migrant have-nots, imposing a hereditary legal barrier on top of a yawning economic divide. This barrier risks hardening into a permanent societal division within China’s urban areas, threatening both migrant welfare and political stability.
These are good statements from a commission that has to be sensative to the political realities and consequences of it's statements. I mean, let's be honest. I write for my blog. I'm not worried about the Chinese government taking me serious.

This, then, is interesting:
The socioeconomic benefits linked with hukou registration help China’s government assure the loyalty of China’s urban population and maintain a firm grip on society. Hukou restrictions have helped support the economic growth of China’s urban (but not rural) areas by slowing the influx of migrant labor into cities.
If I didn't write that earlier today, I was at least thinking it. Too bad I didn't get a job with them earlier this summer--I could have gotten paid for this.

Enough self-absorbtion. Basically, the point of this is just to say there are a lot of China-watchers who are cognizent of the problems facing China's development. We can only hope that the Chinese have at least as good a concept of what is happening in their country, and what is likely to happen, in the near future. I guess, only time will tell. Anyone have any thoughts?

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