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China's Urban Migration Plan Forces Tough Decisions on Families

What's the Latest Development?

Obstacles are beginning to emerge in China's massive urbanization plan, which will see 250 million farmers migrate from rural settings to urban population centers over the next decade. In order to limit the number of megacities, government planners are creating smaller townships which will draw in regional farmers. "The process is known as chengzhenhua, moving into towns, and has become one of the most-debated topics in China. The idea is to limit the number of megacities by keeping farmers closer to the land they farmed instead of moving them to giant cities. The problem is jobs, or the lack of them, in these areas."

What's the Big Idea?

China's urbanization program carries with it broad economic targets to build domestic consumer demand, similar to the development that occurred in the US during the 1950s. A large part of that demand will come from real estate purchases, assisted through zero-interest government loans. Still, such purchases forces families to make painful choices. Lin Jiaqing, a farmer who moved to Qiyan two years, said: "Our daughter was doing well at high school, but when we had to buy this apartment, she knew we couldn't afford to send her to college." The daughter has since dropped out of high school and is working as a clerk at a travel agency.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at the New York Times

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