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China’s hukou restrictions force migrant children out of large cities – part 1

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Yang Yinli, like millions of migrant workers in China, sent her first son to live with his grandparents in the countryside. It was a choice she would bitterly regret.
和中国其他众多农民工一样,杨茵莉(音译)当年把第一个儿子送到了乡下,和祖父母住在一起。这个决定无疑让她后悔不已。

No one was watching the lively six-year-old when he was struck and killed by a truck roaring through the steep village roads. Heartbroken, Ms Yang bore a second son and vowed to raise him in Beijing, stuffing a crib into her tiny shop and keeping a close eye as the toddler played on the pavements.
一辆在陡峭的乡村公路上飞驰的卡车撞上了这个活泼的6岁儿童,夺走了他的生命。事发时,没有大人在看着他。心碎的杨女士后来又生下一个儿子,发誓要将他带在身边抚养。她在小店中塞进了一张儿童床,刚学走路的孩子在人行道上玩耍时,她会小心地看着他。

But new regulations announced this year may force her to send her son, now five, away to be educated. The regulations, which in effect prevent migrant children from entering the first year at Beijing schools, triggered weeks of protests this spring by crowds of anguished parents.
然而,根据今年公布的新规定,为了孩子上学,她可能不得不把今年已经5岁的孩子送走。这些规定实际上阻止外来儿童进入北京小学的一年级就读。今年春天,新规发布后,许多悲痛的父母聚集在一起,举行了为期数周的抗议活动。

The battle faced by migrants for a basic education in Beijing and other major urban centres shows how China is struggling to accommodate the millions flowing to its cities despite a national policy of stimulating urbanisation. “His father could move with him but then what about me? I would still be far from the child,” Ms Yang says, her voice cracking.
外来人口在北京和其他大城市为争取让子女能够接受基础教育所做的斗争表明,中国虽然出了推进城市化的国家政策,但要容纳流进城市的庞大人群非常困难。杨女士嘶哑着嗓子说:“他爸爸可以和他一起走,我怎么办?我还得和孩子分开。”

About 40 per cent of the primary schoolchildren in Beijing lack a city hukou , the official household residency permit that grants access to social services, including education, healthcare and the right to buy homes. Nonetheless, in recent years they have been permitted to attend primary school in the city, a concession that has allowed many migrant couples to keep young children by their side. This school year alone, 470,800 non-Beijing hukou — or migrant — students attended primary and middle school in Beijing.
在北京,大约40%的小学生没有城市户口。所谓户口,是指一种官方的家庭居住许可证明,用以获得包括教育、医疗及购房权利在内的社会服务。不过,近年来外来儿童已被允许就读北京市的小学。政策上的这一让步,令许多外来务工人员可以将年幼的子女带在身边。在本学年,北京中小学非京籍学生(即外来务工人员子女) 就有47.08万人。

A relic of the famines during early Communist rule, the hukou system was introduced in the 1950s to keep the peasantry out of cities where food was more plentiful. It has gradually been relaxed as a flood of workers moved out of rural villages to the factories in cities along the prosperous coast but migrants still remain second-class citizens in many of the cities where they have settled.
作为共产党执政早期饥荒年代遗留下的产物,中国的户籍制度从上世纪50年代开始实施,将农民隔离在食品更加丰富的城市之外。随着大量务工人员走出农村,进入沿海繁荣城市的工厂,中国的户籍制度已逐步放开。不过,在许多他们已经安家的城市,外来务工人员依然是二等市民。

Official statistics show that 55 per cent of Chinese, or 749m people, now live in cities, up from 19 per cent in 1980 at the dawn of market reforms, although the real number is probably higher — and still rising. A government think-tank has estimated it would cost about $100bn per year to integrate another 400m people into the cities over the coming decade.
中国官方统计数字显示,中国目前城市人口为7.49亿人,占总人口的55%,远高于1980年刚开始市场改革时的19%。不过,实际的数字有可能更高,而且依然在增长之中。据一家政府智库估计,要想在今后十年让另外4亿人融入城市,每年需花费大约1000亿美元。

Reforms that allow migrants to establish residency in provincial cities have been accompanied by tighter restrictions for some, mostly hitting those who have moved to the biggest cities, or those who often change jobs and residences.
中国最近对户籍制度所做的改革,允许外来人口落户一些省会城市,同时一些城市却收紧了限制,主要受影响的是已经迁进一线城市的流动人口,或经常换工作和居住地点的人们。

“If we were a market economy, the problem of population would sort itself out and resources would flow more evenly. But China is not a fully market economy and a lot of resources are still concentrated in the hands of certain cities,” says Hu Xingdou, an economist who studies migrant issues at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “Under these circumstances we can never have the free movement of people.”
北京理工大学(Beijing Institute of Technology)研究外来务工人员问题的经济学家胡星斗表示:“如果我们实行的是市场经济,人口问题会自动解决,资源会更平均地流动。然而,中国并 不是完全的市场经济,大量资源仍集中在一些特定城市。在这种情况下,我们永远都不会实现人的自由迁徙。”

Recent policies — such as the rules on education — seek to push migrants out of the most attractive and high-wage places into provincial cities where there is a glut of new housing. Those policies, a reversal of several decades of population flow into the biggest cities, force migrant parents once again to face the choice of confiding young children to the care of elderly and uneducated grandparents or to enrol them in distant boarding schools.
最近的政策(比如有关教育方面的规定)试图将外来务工人员从最具吸引力、工资水平最高的地区,引导向盖了大量新楼房的省会城市。这些政策与几十年来人口流向一线城市的大趋势相背离,迫使流动家庭父母再次面临选择:要么将年幼的子女托付给年事已高、没有文化的祖父母,要么让他们就读偏远的寄宿学校。

2016-06-24

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