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China needs quality improvement in urban life

China,Lifestyle/Fashion, Mon, 26 Mar 2012 IANS

Beijing, March 26 (IANS) While China's rate of urbanisation has rocketed over the last three decades, the country is facing a challenge in improving the quality of urban life, according to officials.


According to official statistics, urban residents accounted for about 51 percent of the population in 2011, compared to about 18 percent in 1978 at the beginning of reform and opening-up, the China Daily reported.


Speaking at the annual China International Urbanisation Forum in Shanghai Sunday, officials said this rapid pace of growth is unsustainable.


The officials said, to some extent, it is based on cheap labour and land, insufficient social security and inadequate public services.


Peng Sen, deputy minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, says China must improve the quality of its urbanisation by deepening reforms.


Land expropriation has played a role in advancing urbanisation and industrialisation, but it has also led to problems such as inadequate protection of farmers' property rights and the irrational use of land, said Peng.


Policymakers must provide the conditions for farmers to benefit more from the appreciation of land values, and the land acquisition system must be reformed on the basis of protecting farmers' interests and ensuring the economic use of land, he said.


The country also needs to make steady progress in reforming the household registration system - most crucially, to allow migrant workers equal access to public services as that enjoyed by urban residents, Peng said.


Though the number of urban dwellers has outpaced the rural population, about "one-third" of these city dwellers don't have a permanent residency permit in the cities where they live, said Chen Xiwen, director of the office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Leading Group on Rural Work.


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