Jack Tang Memorial Lecture Series in Hong Kong: Migrant Workers in China: Hukou, Hope and Beyond
Date: Monday April 10
Venue: Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Time: Drinks reception at 6:30pm; discussion at 7pm; close 8pm
The household registration system - or the hukou - has been central to society in China for decades, originally designed to limit mass migration from the countryside to the cities and ensure structural stability to the country post-1949. Since the economic reforms three decades later, the hukou has also evolved, allowing rural residents seek employment in urban areas. Today there are over 270 million rural migrant workers and their families in urban China without access to basic social services such as public education or healthcare. While the economy continues to expand, the inequality gap and poverty within urban areas has also become more pronounced, giving rise to growing social concern. Coupled with this, there are also 60 million children who are “left behind” by their migrant worker parents in rural China, cared for by elderly grandparents or relatives. To address this, the Chinese government in 2014 announced an ambitious plan to issue 100 million urban hukous to migrant workers by 2020.
However, the new points-for-hukou system favors the more educated and skilled, with commentators pointing out that while it is overall a positive government move, it does not address the gaps in education, income and inequality within the urban population. How beneficial is the new urbanization plan and can it adequately address the vicious cycle of poor education, low income and non-eligibility of urban hukou for migrant workers? Will this new policy help alleviate the growing poverty and inequality gap? How can the Central, municipal and local governments as well as non-governmental organizations work together to improve the livelihoods of migrant worker families? How can these fast expanding megacities become more inclusive and sustainable? Ultimately, what hope do migrant workers have?
CCR CSR is delighted to take part in this lecture series on April 10 at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty.
Click here to book your tickets.