chapter  1
14 Pages

Migrants’ transient urbanism in urban China: an introduction


China’s rural-to-urban migration and rapid urbanization have produced profound impacts on Chinese cities. The pace of urbanization has accelerated since China joined the WTO in 2001 and became the ‘world factory’. In 2011, China reached a remarkable milestone: more than half of its population became an urban population living in cities. Therefore, we need to understand this growing population, especially these new migrants in the cities. Despite earlier studies on rural migrants and discrimination against migrants in cities (e.g. Solinger 1999 ; Zhang 2001 ), recent research has paid more attention to rural-to-urban migration (Fan 2008 ; Murphy 2009 ) and the division between rural and urban societies (Whyte 2010 ). Recently, Chan ( 2010 ) examined the impact of the global fi nancial crisis on the unemployment situation of migrants. Apparently, attention has been paid to rural migrants, but there has been little systematic research on rural migrants in urban China, namely the contextual environment in which migrants stay in Chinese cities, in particular their habitat known as the ‘urban village’ or ‘villages in the city’ ( chengzhongcun ).