The Beijing Times (京华时报) covered the message from an “urban development blue book” by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) on August 14. Enorth (Tianjin) republished the Beijing Times’ article on August 15:
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Urban Development and Environmental Research Institute published an Urban blue book, “China Urban Development Report (2012), yesterday. The blue book points out that within the coming twenty years, China will have nearly 500 million farmers who need to become urbanized, and that this will come at a cost of at least 40,000 billion to 50,000 billion Yuan.
The blue book points out that the transformation from rural to urban society spells singular and major social change.If future urbanization in China push on at a rate of 0.8 to one percentage point in the future, China’s urbanization rate will be at more than 60 percent by 2020. This also means that within the coming twenty years, China will have more than 200,000,000 farmers who will need jobs and places to live in cities and towns, in addition to farmers who came there during recent years and haven’t yet completed urbanization. In future, the country will see 400 million to 500 million farmers who need to achieve urbanization.
According to reliminary calculations, solving social insurance and public services issues alone will cost at least 100,000 Yuan per capita. Within the next twenty years, costs at at least 40,000 billion to 50,000 billion Yuan will arise.
Researcher and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies’ deputy director Wei Houkai said that currently, needs in places far away from the cities were still very different. Seen from the ways of life and living standards, a great number of migrant workers, of farmers who lived in urban outskirts without permanent residence, and the large numbers of farmers who lost their land in the urbanization process, hadn’t really blended into the cities, their ways of life and consumption patterns remained retained the rural ways of life and characteristics, and their degree of urbanization was low.
The blue book also shows that in 2011, urban population in China was at 691 million, an urbanization rate of 51.27 percent, and that urban population therefore exceeded rural population. That urbanization exceeded 50 percent was a historic change in Chinese societal structure. It showed that China had moved past the era of rural-based society, and had started entering into an era of mainly urban-based society.
China Daily, a propaganda paper for foreign consumption, quotes the blue book as saying that the ratio of urbanites’ disposable income to rural residents’ net income reached 3.13 last year, but given that about 40 percent of farmers’ net income was used to purchase chemical fertilizer, pesticide, seeds and other means of production [and given that no similar costs arise for urban citizens, apparently], urban income in China was actually about 5.2 times that of the countryside. That income gap figure was about 26 percent higher than that of 1997, notes the report.
Basically in the context of these reports, Liaoning Daily (also republished by Enorth) reports on Dalian’s (Liaoning Province) official reaction to the challenges:
To adhere to a perfect urbanization, the building of new industries (新型工业化), urban wisdom and agricultural modernization, a civilized, modern international city will be built in an overall plan for these “four modernizations”1), for the improvement of our city’s comprehensive competitiveness. These are the Dalian Municipal Committee’s thoughts on the continuous strengthening of Dalian’s development stamina through an overall plan for coordinated interaction.
In recent years, Dalian, with scientific development concepts as guidance, firmly grasped the revitalization of the old northeastern industrial bases, and the two-fold opportunities of developing and opening Liaoning’s coastal economy, economic development, opening up to the outside world, and other aspects of achieving comprehensive improvement, rather good effects in raising Liaoning’s leading role in the northeastern region. This year, Dalian, in accordance with the requirements and on the foundations of “seeking progress in stability, and pace within stability”, by means of the soft-environment-building year and other measures, maintained economic and stable and rather rapid growth. During the first half of this year, the entire city achieved a regional total output value of 340.1 billion Yuan [more precisely, 340,090 million] Yuan (a growth by 10.1 percent), public revenues of 37.47 billion yuan (19 percent growth), social consumption products retail sales2) at 104.64 billion Yuan (15.2 percent growth), average disposable incomes per capita of 13,934 Yuan (14.1 percent growth), farmers’ average cash income of 9,262 Yuan (14.8 percent growth), with the main economic indicators achieving a “double-surpassing” of the previous [year-on-year?] half-year.
The Dalian Municipal Committee and the city government believe that by now, in competition between developed cities within China, raising their comprehensive competitiveness has become the main direction of impact. To cut new edges in the coming round of fierce competition, if it can solve difficulties, and always maintain a leading position, Dalian needs to cast its sight at the future and to clearly develop new ideas.
In July this year, Dalian city held the Perfect City Chemical Industry congress, and issued the “China Communist Dalian Municipal Committee and Dalian City Government Numerous Opinions concerning Acceleration and Promotion of Perfect Urbanization”, “Dalian City Implementation Plan for the Acceleration and Promotion of Perfect Urbanization, and “the “Dalian City Policies pertaining Acceleration and Promotion of Perfect Urbanization”. Perfection of urbanization and the city and countryside overall improvement plans are are important measures to solve the bottleneck problems. [...] The focus on agricultural modernization is on urban modern agriculture.
The mutually supportive “four modernizations and coordinated promotion will surely promote Dalian’s economic and social development, and its leap to a new level.
1) a term based on the original concept of “Four Modernizations” first set out by Zhou Enlai, and again in 1978.
2) Social consumption is a term frequently connected with “ethical consumption” elsewhere – that’s not how it is meant here, and it most probably simply means household consumption. Your expertise is welcome; just use the commenting function for your definitions or explanations.
» Tianjin Municipal Committee, July 20, 2011