Behind the Chinese Miracle: Migrant Workers Tell Their Stories

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Cookies and Privacy. Show More Contact Us. Along with paying for food and sending money home, migrants must contend with a housing market in which tenants have few rights to complain about landlords who increase rents. In fact, migrants, including Liu, often rent with nothing more than a verbal agreement. Crammed into these tiny spaces, migrants are isolated from familial support networks, leaving children and the elderly in their home villages. For some migrants, it is Chinese government policy that has forced them into this precariousness.

PDF Behind the Chinese Miracle: Migrant Workers Tell Their Stories

In , the Beijing government began destroying shantytowns that housed thousands of migrants. The government says demolitions serve a public interest by removing health and sanitation risks faced by a vulnerable population, pointing in particular to a fire in one such neighborhood that left 19 people dead. While the museum has so far escaped scrutiny, the surrounding area has been cleared of migrant settlements. Migrants also face a formidable set of institutional barriers in their attempts at success in the city.

Chinese society is organized in a system of household registration known as hukou. If you are born in a rural area, it is usually impossible to change to an urban hukou regardless of how long you work in the city, a system that bars migrants from certain jobs and prevents access to health care and education for their children. It dates from pre-Communist China, but in the second half of the 20th century, it became so decisive in determining life opportunities that it has been compared to the caste system.


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A study in Baoding found that migrant workers who, in some cases, had lived in the city for decades had little emotional attachment to it, and their lack of security and happiness was central to this feeling. Researchers found that limitations on their hukou rights had determined much of their outlook on their lives. Their hukou remains in their hometown, which means their only option might be to return to meager countryside pensions in a place where they have not lived for years.

Behind the Chinese miracle :migrant workers tell their stories /Lü Guoguang. – National Library

If they do return, they are likely to find that their villages are nothing like how they left them, and not in a good way. He said in the interview that the new hukou system would gradually extend pension , education and health care services to qualified residents, both urban and rural. China's hukou system is a social management system.


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This system links every Chinese resident with their birthplace. One can only access their health care, pension and education for their children in their birth city. Mr Cai estimates that more than million migrant workers can't participate fully in the labor market due to the limitations from the Chinese hukou system.

According to the International Labour Organization, internal migration in China is defined by two essential features. The first of these is that migrants generally move from farmlands and agricultural areas into more urban areas and developed cities. These would include e.

China’s Myth-Busting Miracle

The largest migrant population was found in Guangdong The rest of China's southeastern seaboard attracted plenty of migrants as well Shanghai 3. The coastal Liaoning and Shandong , as well as the inland Yunnan and Xinjiang had over a million migrants each. Migrants originated mostly in the inland provinces, such as Anhui 4. Much of the interprovincial migration was toward the neighboring wealthier provinces or municipalities if there was one. On the other hand, among the Hubei migrants about one half went to Guangdong, and the rest mostly to various other coastal destinations, from Beijing to Fujian.

It is of interest to the Chinese government to control the flow of internal migration in China. However, the flow of migration is large and widespread enough to be difficult for the government to manage. With less than 7 percent of China's population, Guangdong has 27 percent of China's floating population. The size of the floating population in Guangdong nearly tripled between the and the censuses.

China accepted , Vietnamese through the Orderly Departure Program although this participation is less well known than that of other countries. Most refugees settled in southern China.

Behind the Chinese Miracle: Migrant Workers Tell Their Stories by Lu Guoguang | Waterstones

China refuses to accept people who the country views as defectors from other Communist countries. Today, advocates for North Korean defectors lobby to government officials to reverse legal jargon. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about internal migration in China. For immigration to China, see Immigration to China. For emigration from China, see Chinese emigration. Main article: Migration to Xinjiang. See also: Migrant School. International Labour Organization. Retrieved In Immanuel Ness ed.

Qin Hui, "Looking at China from South Africa" 1

The Encyclopedia of Global Migration. Blackwell Publishing. Population and Development Review. The China Quarterly. China Labour Bulletin.

Financial Times. The American Economic Review. Alpha History. Retrieved October 25, Environmental History. Cambridge University Press. Eurasian crossroads: A history of Xinjiang.

How China's migrant worker children are left behind

East—West Center 1 : 1. Starr , p. Harvard University Press. Millward Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. Rural Labor Flows in China. China Economic Review. Pieke Pentagon Press. March Chinese National Condition. Retrieved 16 April.

ILO Office, Beijing. Reform 4 : 99— Reform 5 : 64— Reform 5 : 74— Yueh Journal of Comparative Economics.