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Children of the floating population

June 20, 2012

Problem of second generation offspring of migrant workers lacking a sense of belonging –unjust treatment leads to them committing crimes

Author: not given. Source: Legal Daily


Jingwel School is in Changping district Dongxiaokou town Lu village, is specially set up to serve both the children of village residents and the children of migrant workers in the area. As it is now summer vacation, the school grounds are quiet. There are only a few children sent here by their parents to keep them out of internet cafes, doing homework supervised by a teacher.

“This year after New Year’s, notices were posted saying demolition of the village and removal of the residents would start, and the school would be torn down very soon. Therefore many students left with their families to ‘migrate’ somewhere else,” one of the teachers told this reporter.

Lu Village is composed of closely connected buildings, making up roughly the shape of a T. During its “period of prosperity,” on some 200 hectares of land there were 600 original residents and 7000 migrant workers. Many of these were groups of temporary laborers who had come from Chaoyang district and Haidian district. Because their rentals there were demolished, they moved out here.

For a few short years a large number of persons from elsewhere gushed into Lu Village, creating a real challenge to its infrastructure. Assistant Secretary Gao Caimao said that previously the village had one well, one transformer, and one garbage truck, but now the need for all of these has expanded 10 times.

One year ago, to improve services and public security Lu Village became one of the 44 villages in Changping, initiating the trial phase of community transformation management. “We constructed a steel gate at the entrance and gave both the village residents and migrant workers passes.” Since the village was currently in the midst of preparations to be demolished, the staff of the village committee was extremely busy, but they did manage to tell this reporter, “After implementing community transformation management, the public security situation became much better.”

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Research Fellow Mo Jihong believes that better results would come from something less intrusive than sealing the village. The government should instead provide various types of social aid, to enable the floating population contingent to have a more stable environment to live in.

China Law and Politics University professor Ma Huaide said that in managing the floating population, the problem of the second generation children cannot be ignored.

“The children of these peasant laborers are born and grow up in the city. They cannot return to the rural countryside, as it is completely unfamiliar to them. But they have not been fully absorbed into the city either.They have difficulty subsisting in the narrow space between urban and rural environments, or within the greater isolation of the city.”

“These children live an entirely mobile life. They go wherever their parents find work.” As the teacher at Jingwei School said, these children are only able to attend Jingwei school as long as his or her parents are in Lu Village, but typically the parents move on to another temporary job, and the child has to move too.

Ma Huaide believes that because of the education problem, the children of the floating problem do not receive equal treatment, and lack a sense of belonging in urban society. Without a sense of belonging, some even go so far as to choose to engage in criminal activities. In some cities, the greater proportion of criminal cases involve members of the floating population. “If members of the floating population received protections and safeguards equal to urban residents, they would develop a sense of belonging. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. They need to be provided with better housing, better employment opportunities, and better access to medical care. In our country in recent years the total amount of income taken in by the government has steadily risen. In some areas, the rate of increase of government income surpasses the rise of the GDP. These funds should be used to build a fairer and more equitable society. ” Ma Huide said.

东小口镇 Dongxiaokou town

芦村 Lu village

莫纪宏 Mo Jihong

马怀德 Ma Huide

konjaku: This is something of a sequel, one year later, to a previous post, “Community Transformation Management in Changping.” There it said (2010-07-29),  “Yesterday, this reporter found out from the Changping district government, that implementation would be carried out in 100 villages in the district. The first to begin a pilot program, starting in August, will be the 44 villages with an inverted population in  Dongxiaokou town, Beiqijia town, Huilongguan town, and Shahe town.” The Lu Village referred to here in Dongxiaokou town must be one of those villages.

Zhang Yanling wrote “… the purpose of “sealed management” is not just to assist public security, or to relieve pressure on the environment, etc.The hidden cause behind sealed management, which most people do not know, is to prepare for the forthcoming urban transformation and dismantling of villages such as Laosanyu according to the urbanization plan.”

This Lu village in Changping district is another example.After a year of “community transformation management,”  the village is about to be demolished. The village committee is so busy with preparations to demolish the village, that they barely have time to answer the reporter’s question as to whether community transformation management was successful or not.

In the same article, Zhang Yanling  wrote, “In fact, as Beijing urbanization expands from the 2nd ring to the 6th ring, the floating population is driven outward, away from the very urbanized areas they have had a hand in building. The most recent tenants in Laosanyu, have just rolled up their traveling bags and arrived from Hongfangzhi, a place just slightly closer to the center of the city….With the  upcoming “urban transformation” members of the floating population will be pushed further and further out.” That article was about Daxing district, this article shows the same is true in Changping. The members of the floating population in Lu village are recent arrivals from Haidian and Chaoyang, closer to the center, who arrive in a new place, live there for a time, and are about to be driven further outward.

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