The Stanford Center at Peking University (SCPKU) on August 26 hosted a forum, “Challenges in the Process of China’s Urbanization,” which included the launch of a book of the same name and a panel discussion.
The book explores the key institutional and governance challenges China will face in reaching its ambitious targets for sustainable, human-centered, and environmentally friendly urbanization as part of the next phase of the country’s National New Urbanization Plan (2014-20). Book authors Karen Eggleston, Director of the Asia Health Policy Program at Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) and Senior Fellow in Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), Jean C. Oi, Stanford’s William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics, Founding Director of Shorenstein APARC’s China Program and SCPKU Director, and Wang Yiming, Vice President and Senior Research Fellow at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), attended the launch and participated in the panel discussion. In her welcoming remarks, Professor Oi briefly introduced the book, the result of a close, 5-year collaboration between Shorenstein APARC and the NDRC. In addition to qualitative data and fieldwork, the book covers comparative analyses among countries, such as the spatial distribution of urbanization in China, India and the United States.
Other panel speakers included Canfei He, Dean of Peking University’s College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Yulong Shi, Director of NDRC’s Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy, Yongzhi Hou, Director-General and Research Fellow of the Department of Development Strategy and Regional Economy at the Development Research Center of the State Council, and Sangay Penjor, Director of the Asian Development Bank’s Urban and Social Sectors Division, East Asia Department.
During the panel discussion, Dr. Hou pointed out that the publication gave an accurate and objective description of China’s urbanization that could help deepen the understanding of problems in China’s urbanization efforts.
Wang Yiming summarized the book’s content in the context of the household registration system, land system, public service, housing system, finance, financial policy, and administration policy. He suggested that in past forty years, a large number of the rural population has moved to form enormous urban hubs in various cities in China. The Chinese government is targeting 100 million of the 260 million people who are residing in cities to complete their citizenization by 2020. Prof. Wang introduced current urbanization reform plans to close this gap, policies that relate to the household registration system, urban “zero threshold” access, and policies on public services such as education and health care, and intergenerational inheritance.