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The 50 “listed up” villages revisited–a trial project for national urbanization

July 15, 2015

The urban rural unification project. From 2010 to 2020, 450 villages located along the Beijing city periphery have either been demolished or are awaiting demolition, and the inhabitants relocated. This project affects 620,000 registered permanent residents, and 2,800,000 members of the floating population. As Beijing has spread outward in expanding rings, these villages, which had once grown imperial rice, or served as gateways to the capital, lost the dignity of their respective histories and became urban villages, and finally, urban slums, filled with migrant workers seeking cheap rentals. If all goes well, the villagers receive financial compensation for loss of their homesteads, and are resettled in new residential towers, with the promise that they will eventually be reclassified as urban residents. This is a significant change in status, as they will be eligible for social security, and other types of social insurance previously beyond their grasp. The Beijing city project is a microcosm of the national effort to urbanize all rural residents, and to transform China into a predominantly urban nation.


However, in the process the villagers on the periphery of Beijing are displaced, and may undergo a sense of displacement. They are expected to become urban residents, for them a new social role in a new environment, competing for good schools and jobs with those who are already urban residents, who have more know-how and privileges. They have had to give up their homesteads and land, and many feel their future is uncertain.

I covered this project in this blog in entries between May 2012 and December 2013. Out of necessity, I focussed on those villages which had received the most coverage in the media: Beiwu and Dawangjing, as models for the project as a whole, and Tangjialing and Liulangzhuang, which got more attention because the migrant workers crowded into these to villages were college graduates seeking jobs in Beijing’s silicon valley.

Now I will try and document more thoroughly the fate of fifty “listed-up” or “focal point” villages, those classified in the project as needing immediate intervention (that is, demolition and relocation).

挂账重点村 listed up, focal point villages

For a comprehensive introduction to the urban rural unification project, see my translation of this article in Caixin by Gong Jing and Zhang Yanling.

For a look at the national project to urbanize all rural residents:

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