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Province faces population pressure
By Liang Qiwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-16 00:35

GUANGZHOU: The population of South China's Guangdong Province has hit 110 million, resulting in a heavy burden for the province.

Migrant workers wave goodbye on an added passenger train linking Central China's Hunan Province with Guangdong. Photo is taken on February 12. [newsphoto/file] 
Guangdong has replaced Central China's Henan Province as the most populous province in the country, Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua announced during the third session of the Ninth Guangdong People's Political Consultative Conference on January 21.

The figure includes 79 million registered permanent residents and 31 million migrants who have lived in Guangdong for more than six months.

Referring to the reason for the sharply increasing population, Huang said even though Henan and Sichuan are the two most populous provinces in China, many residents from the two provinces have come to Guangdong in recent years looking for work, and making Guangdong's population swell.

"Six disallowables" have been lifted by the Guangdong Provincial Labour and Social Security Bureau in January. The "disallowables" is a 1995 decree which forbids the recruitment of workers from other provinces during the month after Lunar New Year to control a huge influx of migrant workers.

Zhang Xiang, an official with the bureau said the move would ease labour shortages which Guangdong has been suffering from over several months.

"It probably drew many more migrants to Guangdong," Xiao Bin, a professor of Sun Sat-sen University said.

The figures prove Xiao's prediction. After the Spring Festival holidays began, an influx appeared in Guangzhou Railway Station. Sources with the station said about 50,000 passengers arrived in Guangzhou every day since the peak of transport began on January 25, 10,000 more than the corresponding period for previous years.

Guangdong's migrant population is the largest in China, leading to pressure on public security.

In 2004, over 510,000 criminal cases were recorded at the Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Security, which means over 1,200 cases each day on average, said Liang Guoju, director of the department.

Liang said about 80 per cent of the cases were committed by migrants, and tackling the cases was a great pressure for him.

The ratio of policemen to population in the province is 12.9 to 10,000, that is to say, a policeman has to secure 775 people. The ratio is lower than those of Beijing and Shanghai.

The increase of population is much faster than that of policemen, said Liang.

Xiao said though education, employment and medical treatment were also facing challenges for the general population, public security deserves much more attention, and it is having an influence on the area's stability and growth.

Yu Senquan, an officer of the Guangdong Provincial Family Planning Commission said they could not stem the flow of migrants from entering Guangdong. What they can do is to control the population by family planning, such as stipulating every family can only have one child.

Yu said if a couple of the province had an extra child, they would be fined.

The fine is levied according to the couple's income. Generally, they are levied three times their total income of the previous year.

Yu said the policy also applied to the migrants. The commission will do more to control the population in 2005, he said.

(China Daily 02/16/2005 page2)

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