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China–IndiaPathways of Economic and Social Development$
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Delia Davin and Barbara Harriss-White

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265673

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265673.001.0001

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The Modalities of Geographical Mobility in China and their Impacts, 1980–2010

The Modalities of Geographical Mobility in China and their Impacts, 1980–2010

(p.139) 7 The Modalities of Geographical Mobility in China and their Impacts, 1980–2010

Dorothy J. Solinger

British Academy

Geographical mobility in China–the critical component of which is rural to urban movement–and the problem of the migrants’ inclusion into the ranks of city citizens have always been, at base, matters of the expenditure and transfer of state resources. A secondary, related dimension has been the institutionalised discrimination that incomers from the countryside have faced in the metropolises, the result of state-devised barriers (and the attendant attitudes among municipal officials and dwellers that have grown up around and bolstered these barriers). I show that today’s migrants began as captives of the state plan, and have ended as hostages of the changed financial relations between central and local levels that came with the market reforms. My argument is that blockages created by the government, along with the biases and behaviours that have developed over some 50 years in conjunction with these blockades, have been grounded in the command of material resources, plus struggles over their disposition.

Keywords:   geographical mobility, migrants, institutionalised discrimination, household registration, local citizenship

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