China is now a world power, and we at the Family Research Council have commented on the brutality and inhumanity of its “one child” policy for years. An excellent, recent article made clear that China’s severe population control policies exist on many levels – not just abortion. Their harshness, however, puts the forced abortion diktat in a broader context of disregard for human beings.
The important Weekend Financial Times article (4/30/2015) by Jamil Anderline entitled, “China’s Great Migration.” The focus of the story is a woman named Xiang Ju and the trek she makes from [x] to her rural homeland in China to celebrate the Chinese lunar New Year. Along the way, Anderline fills in some basic facts about Chinese life – that are unknown to almost all Americans (I believe):
Not that Xiang Ju cares. She is about to join an annual ritual that is not only the biggest human migration but probably the biggest mammalian migration on earth each year. In 2015, an estimated 170 million people caught trains or flights out of China’s biggest cities heading home for the lunar New Year. The government counted about 3 billion “passenger trips” nationwide during the 40-day travel rush, including cars and buses.
Like Xiang Ju, most of these people were born and raised as peasant farmers in the countryside and later moved to China’s megacities to work in low-paid manufacturing, construction and service jobs. In 1978, on the eve of economic reforms that first unleashed this flood of humanity, less than 20 per cent of China’s population lived in a city. Today, 55 per cent of people in the world’s most populous country live in urban areas.
But about 275 million, or more than a third of China’s entire labour force, are migrant workers from the countryside, without the right to settle permanently or access the education, pensions or healthcare provided to those with hereditary “urban” status.
That last paragraph is stunning. A population approaching 300 million constitute internal Chinese migrants who, merely because the moved out of the countryside, have limited access to numerous social services in some sort of irrational federalism. Furthermore, they are not entitled to live in their new home cities.
And, at the other end of the spectrum, there is the phenomena of “hot money” by Chinese super-elites buying overseas real estate, including the U.S., as fear of the Xi government’s crackdown grows. Go to the podcast page, and start listening at 19:00 (Jamil Anderlini / FT.com interview by John Batchelor and Gordon Chang). Apparently, having more children than is allowed by the government is a status symbol among the Chinese elites who maintain overseas residences.