China’s Policy on Rural-urban Migrants and Urban Social Harmony

  •  Ying Li    
  •  Ernest Chui    


Rural migrants have suffered from serious social exclusion in the Chinese urban society. However, since the early 2000s, the Chinese government emphasizes social harmony as an important national development goal. Together with the reorientation of development goals, the livelihood of rural migrants has received unprecedented State attention. This paper studies the policy changes and examines whether they have enhanced urban social harmony, particularly, in improving the welfare of rural migrants. It was found that the policy changes only partially restored the social and political rights of rural migrants. Some rural migrants have resorted to extreme actions, such as suicides, crimes, and strikes, to express their grievances, thereby contradicting government attempts to ensure social harmony. Further efforts are required to enhance the social inclusion of rural migrants in urban China.

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