Dreams of White Tiles . . .



Filed under: Uncategorized — Roddy @ 12:10 am

Translation I did for PressInterpreter.org on control of Beijing’s migrant population from an original article on Caijing.

Press Interpreter looks like a very promising site, and it ties in with some stuff that I do anyway (ie, idly sitting around reading a Chinese newspaper) so I may well contribute some more stuff. My current question though, is who runs the site and why? There’s no ‘about’ information, and my last two emails to their contact address have bounced.

Will post the Chinese and English together below. There are a few places where I feel the English is a little clumsy or inaccurate, which I’ll highlight.

Freedom of Residence and Permitted Access
One legislative item on the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People’s Congress schedule for 2005 has drawn particular attention. In March, the abolition of the ‘Regulations for the Management of Migrant Workers Engaging in Work or Business in Beijing’ will be considered – regulations that came into force a decade ago, in July 1995.
This has generally been met with approval. Some think this indicates that in the future the government will treat Beijing residents and migrants equally, and that the style and theory of the city’s management of its migrant population is changing.
Statistics show 11 million registered permanent residents of Beijing, and about 3.85 million migrant residents who have been living in Beijing for 3 or more months. These migrant workers are employed in all kinds of jobs, but for many years they have received differential treatment, with the government using administrative measures to control them.
In recent years, the situation has been changing. According to Deputy Chief of Beijing Municipal Labor & Social Security Bureau’s Employment Section, Zhang Zhengyu, there used to be restrictions on migrant workers working in some posts, and they had to pay over 100Y for employment permits and temporary resident permits. However, these restrictions are already being gradually eliminated.

  但是,城市人口膨胀带来的问题使得不少人十分忧虑,谁能进入北京?谁该享有“市民”的权利和城市的资源?在今年1月举行的北京市政协会议上,北京市政 协委、中国人民大学教授张惟英提出了《关于建立人口准入制度,控制人口规模,保持人口与城市资源平衡的建议》的提案,经媒体公开后,迅速成为了人们关注 的焦点。
But the problems caused by the expanding urban population worry a lot of people–just who can live in Beijing? Who should enjoy the rights of a citizen and the resources of the city? At the meeting of the Beijing Political Consultative Conference in January, PCC member and People’s University professor Zhang Weiying put forward her ‘Opinions on establishing a population access system, controlling the size of the population and maintaining the balance of population and municipal resources’ , which after media exposure became the focus of public attention.
  张惟英解释说,“人口准入”的含义是,在市场不完善的情况下,用行政手段和经济手段控制北京人口增长。她的提案基于以下理由:首先,北京是个资源缺 型城市,目前人口已经接近各种资源的承载极限,严重制约了北京的可持续发展;其次,目前市场调节机制还不完善,没有足够的能力解决人口过多和资源稀缺之间 的矛盾。
Zhang Weiying says ’Population Access’ means, while markets are imperfect, using administrative and economic methods to control the growth of Beijing’s population. Her proposal is based on the following reasons: First, Beijing’s population is already approaching the limit the resource-poor city can bear, seriously inhibiting its sustainable development and second, market mechanisms are not perfect and cannot solve the conflict between population and resources.
  “这种情况下,通过政府政策控制人口规模,非常必要。”张惟英解释说,这需要北京市政府完善就业信息采集与发布工作,“北京哪些行业需要聘人、需要什 么样的人、需求量有多少、现在已经来了多少,这些信息通过各种渠道向全社会公布,那些想来北京找工作的外地人,自己就会有所选择。”
“Under these circumstances it’s essential to use policy to control population”, Zhang Weiying explains. This needs Beijing’s government to improve the gathering and distribution of employment information “Which industries need people, what kind of people do they need, how many do they need, how many have already arrived – if this kind of information is publicized, people thinking of coming to Beijing will be able to make choices.
Even though she stated her proposal wasn’t meant to ‘restrict migrants entering Beijing’, it was widely criticized. ‘This is anti-migrant prejudice’, ‘Administrative measures to control population movement is anti-constitutional, a step backwards for the system’
Opposition outweighed support, and this itself shows that most people recognize freedom of movement as a right. An policy of permitted access would undoubtedly infringe upon that right.
But people still need to face reality – the constant expansion of the city. Lack of resources and ever more cramped living conditions make many residents anxious about the migrant population. The problem is – how to control Beijing’s population while respecting the right to freedom of movement?
  一些经济学家认为在市场经济条件下,人口规模也应该由市场来调节。比如,一个城市人口多了以后,工资水平自然会降低。资源稀缺,必然导致价格上涨。 这时,市场就会自发地调节城市人口数量。那些无法承受北京高生活成本的人,自然会选择离开。也有经济学家认为,应该通过提高水、电等价格解决人口和资源的 矛盾。
Some economists believe that in a market economy, the market should adjust the size of the population. If a population increases, wages will drop. If resources are scarce, prices will rise. And then, market factors will adjust the size of the population – those who can’t afford the high cost of living will choose to leave. Some economists think the price of water and electricity should be raised to solve the tension between population and resources.
  对于这些建议,北京市市长王岐山日前表示,人口控制管理手段主要是行政手段和经济手段,过去主要使用的行政手段——户籍管理的作用已不大,而暂住证目 前也没有强制执行了,政府正在研究新的行政手段。至于经济手段,对于低收入人群而言,似乎也不灵验,还需要思考新的方式。
On this, Beijing’s mayor Wang Qishan recently commented that there were both administrative and economic methods of population control, and the main administrative method previously used – registration – is no longer of much use. Meanwhile, the Temporary Resident Permit system is no longer enforced, and the government is now researching new administrative methods. Economic methods, meanwhile, are ineffective with low-income groups, and new methods must still be thought of.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up on the pressinterpreter site, Roddy. It’s a great idea and looks like it has a number of contributors already. I wonder if they’re doing anything to publicize it. Its domain registration is with a company in Arizona, so probably at least one American is involved in the project.

    I would translate “北京市政府对于外来人口的管理模式和思路正在转变” as
    “Beijing city government’s migrant management method and policy is in the midst of change.”

    Cheers, Roddy!

    Comment by gato — 3/23/2005 @ 3:51 am

  2. Sorry, “is in the midst of change” should be “are in the midst of change.”

    Comment by gato — 3/23/2005 @ 3:53 am

  3. I read on a website that some Harvard students, mostly from the law school, started the site. A law student by the name of Ramsi Woodcock is the main contact for the site.

    Comment by gato — 3/24/2005 @ 3:39 pm

  4. Yeah, I’ve been in touch with them now, and hope to do some more for them in the future.

    Comment by Roddy — 3/28/2005 @ 2:08 pm

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