Great Emigration Campaign: It Is Hard to Leave Homes in High and Cold Mountains (2011)

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Annotation :::: The vast majority of mud-built houses in a remote mountain of Liannan Yao Autonomous county, Qingyuan city, Guangdong province, have a history of over 30 years with frequent leakage due to rain. In 2009, the county government decided to build up a new community for spontaneous migrants in the county town in an effort to relocate 3,278 poor households from the cold mountain areas of the whole county in stages. Liannan was just the beginning. In early 2010, Guangdong Provincial Government formulated “The Plan for Implementing the Work of Relocating and Resettling the Poor Villages Which Do Not Have Living and Production Conditions in Guangdong Province” (called “Guangdong Relocation Plan” for short), and quietly initiated the project of relocating the poor villages across the province as a whole. In the next five years, Guangdong would invest 1.8 billion CNY in relocating all the 300,000 poor residents from the cold mountain area, thoroughly countering the impression that “the poorest place of China is in Guangdong”. It serves as another example of huge population migration after Qingyuan city relocated 187,000 poor people from a limestone area in the 1990s. And it was reputed as the largest scale migration of population in the modern history of south China. By the end of 2008, the annual per capita income of those migrants had increased from 200 CNY to 3550 CNY. According an expert with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this measure of poverty alleviation proved to be of world significance. Nonetheless, an investigation by Qingyuan Municipal Government in 2007 indicated some shortcomings in the work of relocating people from the limestone area. These include problems with permanent registration residence of individual migrants, home site and cultivated land related concerns, some migrants returning to their native villages and facing difficulties in living and production, some children of migrants not going to school, and problems of law and order. Shi Guoqing is the director of the centre for China migration studies, Hehai University, and has been studying migration issue for over three decades. In his view, poverty-alleviation-oriented migration has achieved very good results since being put into practice in the 1980s. At present, this project sees implementation across the country as a whole, but lacks a county-level law for regulation. Although each province has its own local regulations, practices are more likely to be carried out based on provincial-level interests and intentions, and therefore it is easy to make errors.
Language: Chinese
Imprint: 2011
Note: This record is a part of annotated bibliography of Migration Literature of the Mountain Areas of China (including women and migration), with Special Focus on Yunnan (2000-2013) at
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