China / Society

Challenges when it comes to integration

( Updated: 2014-04-11 11:04

Integration is more than just an abstract concept. It has many practical issues that need to be addressed, such as transportation, social security system, public services and Hukou, the household registration system. It might need much more effort and a long time to settle, according to a commentary from


The proposal to use one transportation card in Beijing and Tianjin has been discussed for years. Since the railway and public transportation in those two cities report to different departments, which have various operations cooperation and contract firms, the interest from multiple parties needs to be urgently addressed. Meanwhile, how to balance the fiscal subsidies in both cities is also an issue which needs much effort to resolve.  

Social security system

Yanjiao county, located in Sanhe, Hebei province, is where hundreds of thousands Beijing people live. With the increasing number of residents, medical facilities in Yanjiao have been fully equipped. However, some private hospitals are unprofitable due to the lack of patients, while hospitals in Beijing have been crammed, since the medical insurance can’t be used among the provinces.

The refund for using medical insurance outside Beijing is a complicated procedure, which means people who live in Yanjiao travel far to hospitals in Beijing. The situation partially reminds us the whole integration process means not only the transfer of industries and population, but also includes other policies and resources, such as medical insurance and the pension system.

Public Services

Whether employees are willing to move out of Beijing should also be considered when state-owned enterprises and universities and colleges are transferring their campuses to a neighboring area.


Hukou, the household registration system, is highly involved with many benefits. Most civil servants and employees from state-owned enterprises have Beijing Hukou, which brings advanced social welfare and helps their children get a better chance to go to elite universities. There should be a solution to address this issue during the integration; otherwise it will be hard for them to move out of Beijing.

Moreover, compared to Beijing, small cities do need to develop their industries and public services to catch up, and help to alleviate the population pressure of big cities.

Thus, medium or small cities need to improve public services and urban functions to catch up with the big cities to accommodate the people and industries who will be living there.

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