Chinese elite rush to emigrate abroad

By Chen Boyuan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, February 12, 2014
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Waves of China's elite and affluent citizens are emigrating abroad, due to the worsening environment. [CNS photo]
Waves of China's elite and affluent citizens are emigrating abroad, due to the worsening environment, an official blue paper has indicated.

The Blue Book of Global Talent, launched jointly by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Centre for China & Globalization in Beijing in late January, attributed last year's rush in emigration to the deteriorating environment, which has come as a result of extensive industrial development, hasty urbanization and a lack of proper social administration.

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are among the first tier cities to show an exodus trend. Last year, smog first shrouded Beijing and then the rest of north China, before spreading to the Yangtze Delta region and the northeastern provinces, triggering red alerts from meteorological and environmental authorities.

The escaping elite and newly rich mostly chose to go to the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- countries with a tradition of immigration, though others preferred smaller countries in Europe. They had become used to urban prosperity and generous social welfare but still had an urge for cleaner air.

Many of those who cannot really afford to move their families abroad, mainly the urban middle class, have relocated to second and third tier Chinese cities, such as Dali, Sanya, Weihai and Zhuhai, which have a better environment and a smaller population. Some have decided to 'wait and see;' they live in two places, and are living a "Tale of Two Cities."

While the bourgeoning middle class are staging a massive exit from the cities, tens of millions of people from the countryside are rushing to look for jobs in the cities. This contrast is a unique paradox in China's development.

Behind the shift of social values lie all the negative facts about China's urbanization. People are becoming anxious about traffic jams, the rising cost of living and pollution, among other problems.

While these people stimulate economic growth in the places they move to, they also cause pressure. The sudden imbalance in supply and demand is quickly be felt in transport, education, commodity prices, and above all, housing, fuelling possible conflicts between the new arrivals and locals.

This wave of population migration is shaping China's future social structure.

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