Migration and Social Mobility in China

A new photography exhibit seeks to highlight to challenges faced by China’s migrants. Millions of China’s citizens have migrated from rural homesteads to urban centers over the past two decades as China had rapidly developed. Indeed, according to one estimate, up to one-third of Beijing’s twenty million citizens are migrants.

Under China’s hukou system, citizens of China are classified as either rural or urban residents. The system historically defined a wide range of asocial benefits. In more recent years, the hukou system has been reformed, but it still limits the ability of rural citizens to purchase property in urban areas. This system, according to its critics, has limited the upward social mobility of millions of Chinese.

What do you think? What are the advantages and disadvantage of China’s hukou system? Would you suggest reforming the system? Why? How?

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