Aug 12, 2013

    Urbanisation push in China faces opposition

    CHINA'S plan to encourage hundreds of millions of rural residents to settle in cities to boost growth faces opposition from local governments, according to Mr Li Tie, an official with the country's top economic-planning agency.

    The director-general of the China Centre for Urban Development, under the National Development and Reform Commission, spoke at an urbanisation forum in Beijing yesterday, where officials, researchers and company executives highlighted the challenges facing the leadership's push, including the strain on local-government finances, the dangers of overbuilding and the cost of scrapping the hukou (residence permit) system that denies migrants and their families the same benefits as city dwellers.

    Premier Li Keqiang has championed urbanisation as a "huge engine" for growth. But as policymakers draft plans for the new leadership's reform agenda ahead of a key Communist Party meeting later this year, he is grappling with vested interests that could stymie some of his plans.

    Mr Li Tie said: "Nobody wants such a big group of migrants to be their neighbours and share their so-called civilised space. This is a conflict of interest."