China has announced plans to expand its cities and improve public services to support economic growth by allowing millions more rural residents to migrate to urban jobs. The Cabinet plan issued Sunday calls for raising the share of China’s population of almost 1.4 billion people living in cities to 60 percent from 53.7 percent now, a shift of about 90 million people. The ruling Communist Party sees allowing people to migrate into cities for higher-paid jobs as a pillar of more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment.
China’s evolution from a mostly rural society began with market-oriented economic reform in the 1980s. Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have grown to become among the world’s largest but migrants are hampered by a household registration system that binds them to their hometowns. That limits access to schools, health care and pensions even for those who live in cities for years. The ruling party has promised in its latest five-year development blueprint to make the economy more productive by giving entrepreneurs and market forces a bigger role and overhauling banking and other industries. The urbanization plan says railways will reach cities with more than 200,000 residents by 2020 and those with more than 500,000 people will be linked by high-speed rail. As China’s cities grows, leaders are looking to one U.S. city in for advice on urban planning. CCTV’s Roza Kazan reports from Chicago.
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