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Beiwu follow-up 12: a model for urban rural unification in 2012

August 1, 2012

konjaku: this recent article, very positive about community transformation management, contains some recent updates on the urban rural unification project as a whole. According to this, all 50 of the listed up villages have by now been demolished, and as many as 668 villages have implemented community transformation management.

As for Beiwu villagers, it says “the transition from a rural to a city household registry is proceeding in batches.” If all the villagers receive an urban hukou, this would be an important concession from the government ( the villagers would get social security and health insurance), although the meaning of “in batches” is unclear.

In positive articles about Beiwu, we meet Guo Yuming, and Guo Guiying (mistakenly given as Guo Guiming in Beiwu follow-up 9) . They represent villagers happy with the transition. Guo Yuming is described as a party branch assistant secretary, Guo Guiying lives in one of two residential units her family received on the 6th floor in Beiwu Jiayuan.

Satisfying the fervent expectations of the people for a better life: analyzing and explaining the problems involved in managing urban villages in the effort to connect urban and rural.


Legal Daily

Beijing: Suiting measures to local conditions: pushing the villages to unify with the urban in community transformation management

Linking together urban and rural involves villages that were until recently distant from the city, and city areas that were until recently apart from agricultural lands. These zones,  in which the mutual differences between urban and rural society and modes of living appear most strongly, make social management difficult. This article will analyze and explain the difficult problems that arise in the unification process and in the social management of urban villages.

In recent years, Beijing has used three approaches in it’s effort to link together, govern and develop the different realms of urban and rural: “stride across,” “advance gradually” and “tend towards uniformity.” Up to the present much has been accomplished. The 50 focal point [listed up] villages across the entire city have all been demolished. A comprehensive process to turn rural residents into urban residents has been started. Within the urban rural zone, 299 villages of mixed characteristics are being rebuilt to uniform standards, 668 natural villages  are implementing community transformation management. The dirty and messy appearance of the zone has been powerfully transformed, and the first stages of orderly development have appeared.

The listed up villages have been transformed in two years

Walking into Beiwu village at the foot of Yuquan mountain, it is difficult to see anything resembling the traditional concept of the village. There are brand new six story buildings, the standardization of community management, convenient service centers, and a green belt around the periphery. It has been transformed to a neatly arranged city or town residential district. Two years ago, Beiwu was one of the listed up villages. The environment was disorderly, there were a high degree of public security incidents, the population inversion ( ratio of migrants to village residents) was great. This earthshaking change Beiwu has undergone is a successful example of precisely what the urban rural unification plan is attempting to achieve.

60 year old Guo Guiying is a locally born and raised Beiwu resident. According to her recollection, from 2000 on members of the floating population began flooding into the village, at its highest the ratio of migrants to village residents was 11:1. At that time, to earn money by renting, every household built additions, the village was filled with two or three story new structures. Water ran into the streets, garbage was everywhere, there were incidents of petty thievery and scuffles every day.

In 2009, the municipal party committee and the city government decided to make Beiwu a trial village in the urban rural unification plan, and relocate its inhabitants in entirety. Moving 775 households, 3200 people was not a simple matter, but in less than three years it was accomplished.

According to the Yuquan village party branch secretary Liu Yongli, the move went smoothly because the villagers controlled every step of the process. The village move was done without the participation of a Demolition and Removal Company, instead the villagers were given total control of the process. This made the removal operation entirely transparent, something the villagers could easily understand and accept.

Nowadays Guo Guiying, with four family members, lives in two apartment suites, each with two bedrooms, on the sixth floor, served by an elevator. Community management has made things much more standardized than before, and she is pretty content with her lot. Furthermore, for Beiwu villagers the transition from a rural to a city household registry is proceeding in batches. Her husband’s turn to become an urban resident is coming up. He will receive social security and health insurance, alleviating their worries about the future.

668 natural villages have implemented community transformation management

Under the governance of Beijing city Fengtai district Fenzhongsi [administrative] village there are seven natural villages, with 5700 residents, and  80,000 members of the floating population or more.  In recent years, residents have relied on the “tile economy” (building rooms to rent to migrant workers). In the villages there are many privately built buildings, badly constructed, and many traveling peddlers and vendors everywhere. The state of public security is not hard to imagine. In a survey, the villagers’ dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs is 100%. The villages clearly exhibit the features of an environment in which the dissimilar realms of the rural and urban are mixed together. The village committee cannot manage, the neighborhood committees cannot supervise. This is long-standing problem for Fenzhongsi.

[Starting in 2010, Fengtai district started on a trial basis an “unifying urban and rural social management project.” –details omitted]

As with Fenzhongsi, and other areas in which difficulties arising from the structural dissimilarities of urban and rural elements have been great, Beijing has placed the responsibility to reconcile these elements squarely on the village administration. With this approach, what can stop the outlying urban-rural zones from evolving new public security problems? There has to be a more comprehensive approach in which leaders from the village committee join with public security, city management, and industry and commerce representative leaders to form a comprehensive operating group. “This group will coordinate the various management strategies in one effort.  With this as a basis, we can have networks which, according to the specific factors of each village area and population distribution,  work in a finer and more precise level to undertake management efforts. At the same time, they will work to weaken the concept of  different communities  comprising rural peasants and city residents and strengthen the mentality of being a city resident.” (Wang Fenglin, Fengtai administration deputy director).

Since 2010, over the last two years, Beijing has invested 2,050,000,000 yuan (2 billion 50 million yuan; 322 million dollars) in the rural urban unification project, and in the Beijing urban and rural areas 668 villages have implemented community transformation management.

Although over 90% of those polled say they are satisfied with community transformation management in their villages, the new development model also creates new problems. While this reporter was investigating in the Beiwu area, Liu Yongli said, “Before the transformation of the village, a portion of the villagers had income based on illicit rentals to migrants, but now that they have been relocated, how can they live and work, free from worries about the future? –this is one of the many problems the government is expending itself on.”

To deal with this, Beiwu village has established an employment service center to help the villagers obtain employment, and in tandem with the labor bureau are developing occupation skills training. Liu Yongli said at present the Beiwu village employment rate is 80.3%, which meets the Beijing standard for full employment.

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