China’s Urban Century
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China’s Urban Century

Governance, Environment and Socio-Economic Imperatives

Edited by François Gipouloux

The achievements of China’s urbanization should not be evaluated solely in terms of adequate infrastructures, but also in their ability to implement sound governance practices to ensure social, environmental and economic development. This book addresses several key challenges faced by Chinese cities, based on the most recent policies and experiments adopted by central and local governments. The contributors offer an interdisciplinary analysis of the urbanization process in China, and examine the following key topics: the institutional foundations of Chinese cities, the legal status of the land, the rural to urban migration, the preservation of the urban heritage and the creation of urban community, and the competitiveness of Chinese cities. They define the current issues and challenges emerging from China’s urbanization.
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Chapter 5: China’s hukou reform and new urbanization blueprint

Kam Wing Chan


For several decades, China’s post-1949 urbanization has drawn enormous attention in the scholarly literature and, more recently, from the public media for its importance to the global economy (Chan, 2012b). Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz has considered China’s urbanization, along with the USA’s technological innovation, the ‘two keys’ to mankind’s development in the twenty-first century (Bloomberg News, 2012). Indeed, urbanization is China’s latest strategy to move the economy forward (Chan, 2012a). Equally important, the mystique of China’s urbanization –including its feats, for example, in allegedly bringing about rural–urban integration in Mao’s times and avoiding urban ‘ills’ today – has also long fascinated generations of journalists and scholars alike (see, for example, Murphey, 1975; Leys, 1983; Lu, 2011; Zhang, 2013), though, as it turns out, many of the asserted feats are mostly unfounded claims or gross misinterpretations (see a review in Chan, 1994; Tang, 2014).

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