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Migration in China

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 11 April 2007

China now possesses the fourth largest economy in the world and it is set to become the world’s second biggest within 10 years. The boom cities along the country’s Eastern Coast are drawing huge numbers of people from the countryside in a migration of unprecedented scale.  Now it is estimated that 200 million people, a quarter of the country’s workforce is counted as China’s ‘floating population’. Because of the peculiarities of China’s household registration system these migrants do not have access to schools, hospitals or other aspects of state care and the protests are growing every year.  They are second class citizens with the potential to create massive disharmony within the Chinese state. Can the situation be sustained? Can the Chinese economy continue its miraculous growth without the granting of democratic or other human rights to its population? Laurie is joined by Caroline Hoy who has conducted fieldwork on internal migration in China; Fulong Wu, Professor of East Asian Planning and Director of the Urban China Research Centre at Cardiff University; Will Hutton, who recently published his book entitled The Writing on the Wall: China in the 21st Century and Professor Nigel Harris, author of The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker.



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