The authorities will encourage more rural people to migrate to cities, a senior official said in response to the annual report released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) yesterday.
Hou Yan, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission, said yesterday in Beijing that the government was crafting policies to attract more rural people to cities.
"Our policy is not to delay the migration trend from rural areas," she said.
She said the government is actively promoting the reform of the hukou, or permanent residence, system to close the gap between an agricultural and non-agricultural identity registration.
According to the State of World Population Report 2007, released yesterday by the UNFPA, China's urban population is projected to increase from 560 million in 2005 to 910 million by 2030. Urban people's share of the population is seen growing from 42 to 64 percent.
In 1980, less than 20 percent of the population lived in cities.
Duan Chengrong, a professor at Renmin University of China, said the flood of migration from rural areas is a legacy of the government's efforts to restrict people's movements before 1980.
Bernard Coquelin, the UNFPA representative in China, said the government should take steps now to prepare for the needs of future city dwellers and ensure urbanization fulfils its promise of easing poverty and preserving the environment.
"We can see that the government's urbanization policy has included human development issues, and the challenge is to implement the policy," he said.
(China Daily June 28, 2007)