China Economic published a commentary stating that China has identified urbanization as a major solution for expanding domestic demand and enterprise development. The article argued, however, that the core of urbanization in China is to “urbanize people,” or to make farmers the same as or similar to city residents. The article quoted three scholars’ opinions. They argued that 50 percent of the total population in China now lives in cities, but only 35 percent of the total population have city Hukou – China’s unique household registration system which identifies a person according to his or her original area (e.g. from Beijing, Shanghai, or a rural village). This means that of the 700 million people who are identified as urban dwellers, 220 million of them are still labeled as farmers. These farmers are mainly the “immigrant farmers” and cannot enjoy the same social benefits, such as social security, employment, land ownership, housing, education, and so on, as city residents.
Source: China Economic Net, January 18, 2013