Beijing Exodus: New Population Controls Force Migrants Out Of Capital



BEIJING - Last week, Beijing authorities announced that 600,000 temporary residents had left the capital, bringing the total of the city’s migrant population down to 8,258,000 people, reports the Economic Observer.

For the past decade, the non-resident population has gone up by nearly 400,000 people each year. In 2007, Beijing’s population had already exceeded the State Council’s 2020 total population quota of 18 million people.

But since 2010, Beijing authorities have issued a series of administrative measures to discourage migrants and stem their inflow - in particular the migrant laborers working in low-end service industries. The new measures, according to the website include a bylaw forbidding the renting out of basements, and a regulation requiring each rental apartment room to accommodate two people at most.

On top of that, since 2010, the quota for new permanent residents has been shrinking under the city’s population control policy. Even with a college degree, migrants are not guaranteed permanent residence in the city, says the website. To be able to settle down in the capital, they need a Beijing hukou, a temporary resident permit. Without a hukou, migrants have no access to healthcare, education or housing, for instance.

However, some observers believe that Beijing's population control has started to exert significant pressures on the region’s economy.

According to Anbound Consulting, Beijing’s manufacturing sector currently employs about 1.8 million people, of which more than 40% are not from migrant laborers, without whom the manufacturing industry in Beijing couldn’t survive.

The service sector: the catering, building, housekeeping, entertainment, sanitation, retailing, as well as real estate services, wouldn’t be able to operated without migrant workers either.

Like any economic structural adjustment, Beijing’s compulsory control of migrants will come at a huge economic cost, Anbound said.

The Beijing Municipal Government has already realized the impact that their population control has. In its 2012 work report, the expression “Population Control” used for years was replaced by the expression “Population service management.”

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!