|Statement at the General Debate on National Experience in Population Matters at the 46th Session of the UN Commission on Population and Development By H. E. Mme. CUI Li Vice Minister National Health and Family Planning Commission|
The Chinese delegation is delighted to have this opportunity to introduce the Chinese experience to the participants regarding the theme “New Trends in Migration -- Demographic Aspects”.
Along with the progress of reform and opening up, China’s international migration keeps growing in scale and exerts increasingly marked impacts on China’s economy. First, with expanding international emigration from China, China becomes a growingly important country of origin. Chinese migrants living abroad have more than doubled in number between 1990 and 2010. Second, the number of overseas immigrants into China is also increasing year by year. During the sixth population census, the Chinese government, for the first time in history, made record by including people of foreign nationality into the scope of census, registering a total number of about 590, 000 foreigners. In June 2012, the Chinese government released the new Administrative Measures on Immigration and Emigration, further regulating the immigration and emigration administration system. Moreover, out of its high attention to research about international migration, migrant service provision and management of migrants, the Chinese government has developed inclusive and uniting policies for social and economic development to enhance positive impacts of international migration to the greatest possible extent.
China is one of the countries undergoing the most rapid urbanization and the largest domestic population migration in the world. In 2011, urban population exceeded rural population for the first time in history and indicating a historical transformation of the urban-rural demographic distribution pattern in China. In 2012, the migrant population nationwide registered 236 million, accounting 52.6 % of the national total urban population, equivalent to migration of one out of every six Chinese.
In the coming two decades, domestic population migration in China, while maintaining its large scale, will undergo complicated changes in distribution, structure and general quality, challenging government development strategies, government administration and public services. In face with such challenges, the Chinese government has conducted positive explorations and practices such as accelerating the transformation of the economic development pattern, taking coordinated urban, rural and regional development into comprehensive consideration and focusing on holistic human development.
First, Proactively promote urbanization and gradually improve policies on population migration: Over the recent years, the Chinese government has regarded proactive and steady promotion of urbanization as a strategic priority for the improvement of people’s livelihood and expansion of domestic demands in the new era, taken socioeconomic development levels and integrated urban carrying capacity into full consideration and deepened reform of the household registration system to gradually turn eligible rural migrants into urban residents. At the end of 2010, the State Council adopted the National Master Plan for Developing Major Functional Zones, planning for the future layout of population distribution, economic arrangements, land use and urbanization, defining different functions of different zones according to different resource and environment carrying capacity, existing development intensity and future growth potentials of the different regions, and clarifying the direction and policy of development thereby to gradually form an open spatial layout for coordination of population, economy, resources and the environment.
Second, Promote equity of basic public services and facilitate social integration of migrants: Rapid increase in scale of migration intensifies the imbalance of basic public services between urban and rural areas, different regions and different population groups. At the moment, the Chinese government is steaming up its reform in areas key to people’s livelihood including education, medical care and social security, for step-by-step equalization of basic public services. To facilitate urban integration of migrants, especially rural migrant workers, a series of policy measures vis-à-vis compulsory education for migrant children as well as vocational training, employment policy, labor protection, medical services, transfer and continuance of pensions, and family planning and reproductive health services for migrants are now in place to create an enabling policy environment for promotion of orderly population urbanization and transformation of rural migrant workers into urban residents. Local governments at all levels have also made proactive attempts in line with their respective local situations to explore for ways that help integrate migrants into local communities.
Third, Explore for the establishment of a population migration dynamic monitoring system and construct a platform to support decision making on management of population distribution: Over the recent years, the government has completed the information statistics and dynamic monitoring system for all migrants and the national migrant service and management information platform. It is now constructing the national and provincial databases of individual migrant cases. In addition, monitoring surveys of migrants have been carried out to help the government gain an in-depth understanding of the trends of changes, survival and development of migrants and provide the basis for scientific decision making and service management.
The Chinese government would like to thank international organizations such as UNFPA and foreign governments including the German government for their precious project assistance in the provision of equitable and quality reproductive health services to migrants and promotion of social integration of migrants in China.
Despite the above useful attempts in guiding orderly population migration and promoting healthy development of population urbanization, China is still confronted by a series of challenges: (1) Lack of coordination between population distribution, resource/environment carrying capacity and economic layout: Policy guidance and incentive drive are both needed to further encourage people to move from areas weak in resource/environment carrying capacity to areas with stronger carrying capacity; (2) Room for further enhancement of integrated urban carrying capacity: Due to the uneven distribution of resources for survival between different cities, large cities have become the focus of attraction for population concentration and are therefore facing the pressure of drastic population inflation. Many small and medium cities, on the other hand, are relatively weak in attracting industry concentration and providing public services and therefore less attractive to the surrounding rural population. The combination of these two factors negatively affects improvement of integrated urban carrying capacity nationwide; and (3) Need for further reform of institutional factors that impede population migration.
Development aims at promoting freedom of people to live the life they prefer. Population migration is an important component of such freedom. The Chinese government will stick to the principles of scientific planning, rational layout and comprehensive consideration of urban and rural issues, gradually cover all resident population in basic urban public services including family planning and reproductive health services and thereby create an institutional environment favorable to free migration, happy life and enjoyable work.
The 12th Session of the National People’s Congress convened in March 2013 decided to set up the National Health and Family Planning Commission by merging the former Ministry of Health and the National Population and Family Planning Commission, for the purpose of optimizing allocation of resources and providing better health and family planning services to the people. The Chinese government will continue to adhere to the basic national policy of family planning, gradually improve its fertility policy, address population issues in a comprehensive way and promote long-term and sustainable development of its population.
Population migration is a complicated social phenomenon closely related to political, economic, social and cultural development. The Chinese government is more than happy to continue with its efforts to promote exchange of experiences and policy dialogue with other national governments regarding population migration policies, jointly respond to challenges in population and development including migration and endeavor for implementation of the ICPD Programme of Acton, improvement of human well being and construction of a prosperous, beautiful and harmonious world!
Thank you, Mr. Chair.