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Limiting in-flow of migrants unnecessary
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-08 09:16

There are better ways to control Shanghai's growing migrant population than setting quotas on the number of people allowed to move to the city from rural parts of China, a symposium on Shanghai's development heard yesterday.

The city of Shanghai could move labor-intensive industries to other provinces, transfer commercial and residential areas to the suburbs, and reduce the wealth gab between Shanghai and neighboring regions, delegates to the symposium said.

Migrant workers await trains outside a trian station. They leave for cities in the hope to gain a better life. [newsphoto]

They were reacting to comments that Zhang Weiying, a member of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, made earlier this year, suggesting the capital should limit domestic immigration.

It doesn't make sense to restrict the in-flow of migrant workers for the sake of local development, when more effective and humane steps can control the rising migrant population, delegates said.

More than 150 scholars, governmental official and sociologists participated in the event.

By the end of last year, Shanghai was home to 13.52 million registered residents and 5.2 million long-term migrants - those that have been in the city for at least six months.

"Banning access to migrant workers hampers local financial growth and the image of Shanghai," said Xie Lingli, director of the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Committee. Xie noted, however, the growing migrant population has put pressure on many resources, such as schools.

Wang Daben from the population research institute at East China Normal University, said the city can control migration by focusing development on professional industries, such as finance, instead of building more factories.

The symposium will send a list of suggestion on ways to deal with the city's growing migrant population to local lawmakers.

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