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Native Place, Migration and the Emergence of Peasant Enclaves in Beijing*

  • Laurence J. C. Ma and Biao Xiang


Since the early 1980s, reduced migration control by the state and increasing economic liberalization in China have led to the movement of millions of peasants to the cities, creating various types of new “urban spaces” and “non-state spaces.” This influx has fundamentally changed the social, spatial and economic landscapes of the Chinese city, making the urban scene much more varied, lively and dynamic, but less safe and orderly than that of the Maoist era. Aside from the resulting expansion of city population, the Chinese city is also taking on some of the features common to other Third World cities, including the formation of migrant communities in both the cities and suburbs. In 1990, in the built-up areas of eight of China's largest cities, the “floating population” accounted for between 11.1 to 27.5 per cent of the total de facto urban population. At the same time, the urban population has also become much more diverse as peasants from different provinces group spontaneously in spatially distinct enclaves, producing a new urban mosaic that did not exist in Maoist China. Whereas some of enclaves are formed by non-Han minority groups, such as the two “Xinjiang villages” in Beijing where the Uygurs (more commonly but unofficially, “Uighurs”) from Xinjiang have congregated, most of them are formed by Han-Chinese. The Han peasant enclaves, however, are far from uniform in social structure, economic activity, population size or physical appearance.



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1.Davis, Deborah S., Richard, Kraus, Barry, Naughton and Perry, Elizabeth J. (eds.), Urban Spaces in Contemporary China: The Potential for Autonomy and Community in Post-Mao China (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995). The notion of “non-state space” is analysed byXiang, Biao, “Zhejiang village in Beijing: creating a visible non-state space through migration and marketized networks,” in Pieke, Frank N. and Hein, Mallee (eds.), Chinese Migrants and European Chinese: Perspectives on Internal and International Migration (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, forthcoming).

2.Bryan, Roberts, Cities of Peasants: The Political Economy of Urbanization in the Third World, revised edition (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1995).

3.Wang, Jianmin and Hu, Qi, Zhongguo liudong renkou (China's Floating Population) (Shanghai: Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Press, 1996), p. 42. In this paper, de facto urban population refers to the registered local resident population (huji renkou or changzhu renkou) plus the floaters who have registered as “temporary population (zanzhu renkou).”

4. “Peasant enclave” is defined here as an area in a city with a significant concentration of peasant migrants, where proper statistical data on their spatial distribution makes it possible to delimit its geographic boundary. The term does not suggest that the migrants are the majority population there. On the contrary, relative to the size of the resident population in an enclave in post-Mao China, peasant migrants - except those in Beijing's Zhejiang Village - are always in the minority. Because of migration control, new migrant enclaves did not appear during the first three decades of socialist rule in China. For migrant enclaves in pre-1949 Chinese cities, see Rowe, William, Hankow: Commerce and Society in a Chinese City, 1796–1889 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), p. 215; for the Subei people in Shanghai, seeHonig, Emily, Creating Chinese Ethnicity: Subei People in Shanghai, 1850–1980 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), especially pp. 4647; for migrants and their huiguan and tongxianghui in Shanghai, seeBryna, Goodman, Native Place, City, and Nation: Regional Networks and Identities in Shanghai, 1853–1937 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995) andCooke Johnson, Linda, Shanghai: From Market Town to Treaty Port, 1074–1858 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995). For the relationship between native place connections and the activities of such social groups as bankers, workers, students and gangsters, seeWakeman, Frederic Jr. and Wen-hsin, Yeh (eds.), Shanghai Sojourners (Berkeley: University of California, Institute of East Asian Studies, 1992). Native place-based factions among the workers in Beijing in the 1920s and in Tianjin between 1900 and 1949 have been noted byDavid, Strand, Rickshaw Beijing (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989) andHershatter, Gail, The Workers of Tianjin, 1900–1949 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986), pp. 50, 168 and 180. The role of the “Shanghainese” (not all from Shanghai) in Hong Kong's post-1949 industrialization has been documented byWong, Siu-lun, Emigrant Entrepreneurs: Shanghai Industrialists in Hong Kong (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988). For a study of the Muslim community in contemporary Beijing, seeShangyi, Zhou, “Xiandai da dushi shaoshu minzu juzhuqu ruhe baochi fanrong (“How to maintain the prosperity of the minority enclaves in contemporary large cities”), Beijing shehui kexue (Beijing Social Sciences), No. 1 (1997), pp. 7785.

5. Delia Davin, “Images of the migrant in the Chinese media,” paper presented at the Workshop on European Chinese and Chinese Domestic Migrants, Oxford, England, 3–5 July 1996.

6. Among the recent publications on migration and rural migrants are Day, Lincoln H. and Xia, Ma (eds.), Migration and Urbanization in China, (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1994);Solinger, Dorothy J., “China's transients and the state: a form of civil society?” Politics and Society, Vol. 21, No. 1 (1993), pp. 91122;Cheng, Tiejun and Mark, Selden, “The origin and social consequences of China's hukou system,” The China Quarterly, No. 139 (1994), pp. 644668;Xiaoying Wu, Harry, “Rural to urban migration in the People's Republic of China,” The China Quarterly, No. 139 (1994), pp. 669698;Kam Wing, Chan, “Post-Mao China: a two-class urban society in the making,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol.20, No. 1 (1996), pp. 134150;Sidney, Goldstein and Shenyang, Guo, “Temporary migrants in Shanghai households,” Demography, Vol. 28, No. 2 (1991), pp. 275291;C. Ma, Laurence J. and Ming, Fan, “Urbanization from below: the growth of towns in Jiangsu, China,” Urban Studies, Vol. 31, No. 10 (1994), pp. 16251645;Ma, Laurence J. C. and Chusheng, Lin, “Development of towns in China: a case study of Guangdong province,” Population and Development Review, Vol. 19, No. 3 (1993), pp. 583606;Linda, Wong, “China's urban migrants - the public policy challenge,” Public Affairs, Vol. 67, No. 3 (1994), pp. 335355; andGuang, Hua Wan, “Peasant flood in China: internal migration and its policy determinants,” Third World Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1995), pp. 173196.

7. The resident ID card has contributed to greater spatial mobility. It can be used to seek employment, register at hotels, and apply for business licences to register as a temporary urban resident in cities.

8. This argument does not in any way suggest that peasant migrants somehow possess a special kind of “peasant power.”

9. The term “power of place” has appeared in the titles of several books. For a scholarly treatment of the notion, see Agnew, John A. and Duncan, James S. (eds.), The Power of Place: Bringing Together Geographical and Sociological Imaginations (Winchester, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1989). This collection of papers, however, does not address the same issues as we do here.

10.Jennifer, Wolch and Michael, Dear, “How territory shapes social life,” inJennifer, Wolch and Michael, Dear (eds.), The Power of Geography: How Territory Shapes Social Life (Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989), p. 9.

11.For recent studies on Chinese ethnicity, see Honig, Creating Chinese Ethnicity; Goodman, Native Place, City, and Nation;David, Faure and Siu, Helen F. (eds.), Down to Earth: The Territorial Bond in South China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995);Honig, Emily, “Native place and the making of Chinese ethnicity” andCole, James H., “Competition and co-operation in late imperial China: as reflected in native place and ethnicity,” both inHershatter, Gail, Emily, Honig, Lipman, Jonathan J. and Randall, Stross (eds.), Remapping China: Fissures in Historical Terrain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996), pp. 143155 and 156–163 respectively. For definitions and conceptual issues of“ethnicity,” see Werner, Sollors (ed.), Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1996).

12.Lipman has argued that “we must hyphenate the Chinese, writing about Manchu-Chinese, Subei-Chinese, Cantonese-Chinese and hundreds of other composite identities ... in order to understand Chinese society more accurately.” See Lipman, Jonathan N., “Hyphenated Chinese: Sino-Muslim identity in modern China,” in Hershatter, , et al. (eds.), Remapping China, p. 98.

13. This point is effectively argued by Honig, “Native place and the making of Chinese ethnicity.”

14. The meanings of space and place are elucidated by Yi-Fu, Tuan, Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1977);Yi-Fu, Tuan, Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Value (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974);Relph, Edward, Place and Placelessness (London: Pion, 1976); andButtimer, Anne, “Home, reach, and the sense of place,” in Buttimer, Anne and Seaman, David (eds.), The Human Experience of Space and Place (London: Croom Helm, 1980), pp. 166187.

15.Sollers, , Theories of Ethnicity, pp. xxii.

16. These two basic concepts are often used by geographers. “Site” normally refers to the attributes, especially physical and environmental, of a locality, whereas “situation” refers to a locale's geographic location relative to other locales. Here the word “locale” is used to refer to a place's physical location minus human meanings and emotions developed by and assigned to it by its residents.

17.Proshansky, Harold M., Fabian, Abbe K. and Kaminoff, Robert, “Place-identity: physical world socialization of the self,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, Vol. 3 (1983), p. 59.

18. Scholars have approached the sources of people's attachment to their places from different perspectives. Psychological approaches posit inherent psychic needs for local ties, including ethological and cognitive analyses. Ethological analysts hold that attachment to place is rooted in a “territorial instinct” while cognitive proponents contend that a sense of place is necessary to maintain psychological stability. Sociological perspectives see attachment to place (in contemporary Western settings) as founded on the type of social relations individuals have in a place. For relevant literature on these and other perspectives, see Fischer, Claude S. (ed.), Networks and Places: Social Relations in the Urban Setting (New York: The Free Press, 1977), ch. 8, especially pp. 140–41.

19. In addition to the publications given in footnote 4 above, see also Ping-ti, Ho, Zhongguo huiguan shi lun (On the History of Chinese Landsmannschaften) (Taipei: Xuesheng shuju, 1966);Ping-ti, Ho, “The geographic distribution of Hui-kuan (Landsmannschaften) in central and upper Yangtze provinces,” Tsinghua Journal of Chinese Studies, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1966), pp. 120152;Susan Mann, Jones, “The Ningpo pang and financial power at Shanghai,” in Elvin, Mark and Skinner, G. William (eds.), The Chinese City Between Two Worlds (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974), pp. 7396;Rowe, , Hankow, pp. 213251;Skinner, G. William, “Mobility strategies in later imperial China: a regional systems analysis,” in Smith, Carol A. (ed.), Regional Analysis (New York: Academic Press, 1976), Vol. 1, pp. 327364;Cole, James H., Shaohsing: Competition and Co-operation in Nineteenth Century China (Tueson: University of Arizona Press, 1986); andHaipeng, Zhang and Tingyuan, Wang (eds.), Huishang yanjiu (Studies on the Anhui Merchants) (Hefei: Anhui renmin chubanshe, 1995).

20. In this paper, the terms “migration” and “migrants” are used as generic terms without implying that they are officially approved. The difference between “migration” and “population movement” will be clarified below.

21. Cited in Li Rongshi, , “Dangqian woguo liudong renkou de renshi he sikao” (“Some considerations on the floating population in a contemporary China”), Renkou yanjiu (Population Research), Vol. 20, No. 1. (1996), p. 12.

22. See Taylor, Jeffrey R., “Rural employment trends and the legacy of surplus labour, 1978–86,” The China Quarterly, No. 116 (1988), p. 737, andCai Fang, Zhongguo liudong renkou: xingcheng yuanyin yu yingdui zhi ce (“China's floating population: factors of formation and coping strategies”), in Dangsheng, Ji and Shao, Qin (eds.), Zhongguo renkou liudong shitai yu guanli (The Situation and Management of Chinese Population Movement) (Beijing: Zhongguo renkou chubanshe, 1995), p. 181.

23. Li Rongshi, “Some considerations on the floating population in contemporary China.”

24.Jiyuan , Chen and Dechang, Yu (eds.), Zhongguo nongye laodongli zhuanyi (The Transformation of China's Agricultural Labour) (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1993).

25.Guowuyuan guanyu nongmin jinru jizhen luohu wenti de tongzhi” (“Circular of the State Council concerning the question of peasants entering market towns for settlement”), Guowuyuan gongbao (Gazette of the State Council), No. 26, 13 10 1984, pp. 919920.

26.Hukou regulations were passed in 1958 but their systematic enforcement actually began in 1960.

27. There was a slowdown between 1989 and 1991 corresponding to the national belt-tightening which curtailed urban construction.

28. State Statistical Bureau, China Statistical Yearbook 1996 (Beijing: China Statistical Publishing House, 1996), p. 281.

29.Lora, Sabin, “New bosses in the workers' state: the growth of non-state sector employment in China,” The China Quarterly, No. 140 (1994), pp. 944970.

30. Among the monographs are Wang, Jianmin and Hu, Qi, China's Floating Population;Dangsheng, Ji and Qin, Shao (eds.), The Situation and Management of Chinese Population Movement;Yang, Yunyan, Zhongguo renkou qianyi yu fazhan de changqi zhanlüe (The Long-Term Strategy of China's Population Migration and Development) (Wuhan: Wuhan chubanshe, 1994);Shihang, Bao (ed.), Da chengshi liudong renkou yanjiu (Studies on the Floating Population of the Large Cities) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui chubanshe, 1992);Mengbai, Li and Xin, Hu, Liudong renkou dui da chengshi fazhan de yingxiang ji duice (The Impact of Floating Population on the Development of Large Cities and the Coping Strategies) (Beijing: Jingji ribao chubanshe, 1991);Zhang, Kaimin, Shanghai renkou qianyi yanjiu (Studies on Shanghai's Population Migration) (Shanghai: Shanghai shehui kexueyuan chubanshe, 1989); andThomas, Scharping (ed.), Floating Population and Migration in China (Hamburg: Instituts Für Asienkunde, 1997). Relevant research papers in both English and Chinese are cited elsewhere in this paper.

31.Wang, Jianmin and Hu, Qi, China's Floating Population, p. 41.

32. Shijie ribao (World Journal), 26 03 1997, p. A10.

33.Rongshi, Li, “Some considerations on the floating population of contemporary China,” p. 11.

34.Rongshi, Li, Ibid. Between 1984 and 1990, the floating population in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Zhengzhou increased by between 158 and 261%, and the proportion of floaters in the cities' total populations also increased significantly. In 1990, floaters accounted for between 12.4% of Tianjin's total population and 37.8% of Hangzhou's total. Shanghai's 1993 floating population survey reveals a total of 2.81 million floaters which exceeds the previous high in 1988 of 1.24 million. The estimate for 1994 was more than three million.

35.Lanchun, Zou, Beijing de liudong renkou (Beijing's Floating Population) (Beijing: Zhongguo renkou chubanshe, 1996), p. 21.

36.Li, Mengbai and Hu, Xin, The Impact of Floating Population on the Development of Large Cities, p. 9.

37.Zhang Kaimin, , Studies on Shanghai's Population Migration, p. 64.

38.Zou, Lanchun, Beijing's Floating Population, p. 113. The breakdown of the length of time spent in the city is as follows: six months to a year, 22.5%; one to three years, 22.4%; three to five years, 9.4%; and more than five years, 9.0%.

39. For pre-reform urban society, see Whyte, Martin King and Parish, William L., Urban Life in Contemporary China (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1984), especially chs. 8 and 9.

40. This occurred between 1961 and 1963 when 26 million peasant workers were “cleared and returned” (qingtui) from the cities, most of whom (19 million) had been recruited to support the frenzied industrialization programme of the Great Leap in the cities. The major reason for their removal was to alleviate the burden of state supply of grain to the cities. These two figures are given by Wang, Feng, “The breakdown of a great wall: recent changes in the household registration system of China,” in Scharping, , Floating Population, p. 152. In the reform era, however, reasons other than urban food supply can be cited. For example, just before the Asian Games in 1990, numerous peasants were driven out of Beijing because they and their makeshift housing were deemed unsightly.

41. Historical data on Beijing's temporary population presented in this section is based on Li, Muzhen (ed.), Zhongguo renkou: Beijing fence (China's Population: Beijing Volume) (Beijing: Zhongguo caizheng jingji chubanshe, 1987), pp. 173–77.

42.Zou, Lanchun, Beijing's Floating Population p. 105. Most of the migrants who live in Zhejiang Village's several dayuan are registered and can be found very easily by the police. A dayuan is normally a concentrated residential quarter owned by a work unit, or danwei, and occupied by the people of the same danwei. Normally a danwei's staff housing is not allowed to be rented out. However, quite a few danwei have rented out their old and unoccupied office buildings or warehouses to real estate developers who convert them to rent to peasants.

43. The formation of such groups should not be seen a result of any strategy designed deliberately by migrants to better protect themselves against the dominant population or the other “they groups.” Some of the local residents may be contemptuous of the outsiders, but there is no detectable hostility toward them. There has been no report of any serious confrontation between migrants and locals.

44. In the mid-1950s, a series of documents to control migration was issued by the State Council, using the term mangliu for the first time. See, for example, “Guowuyuan guanyu fangzhi nongcun renkou mangmu wailiu de zhishi” (“Directive of the State Council concerning the prevention of rural population's blind outflow”), printed in Population Research Centre. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zhongguo renkou nianjian 1985 (Almanac of China's population, 1985) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1986), p. 108.

45.Cai, Fang, “Laodongli liudong, ze ye yu zizhu guochengzhong de jingji lixing” (“Economic rationality in the processes of job selection and self-organization in labour migration”), Zhongguo shehui kexue (Social Sciences in China), No. 4 (1997), pp. 127138. This study is based on a 1995 sample survey of 1,504 peasant workers in Jinan.

46. Kinship and laoxiang ties are, of course, important not only to Jinan migrants in finding jobs; they are also crucial to other groups of migrants. For examples of how a girl from Wuwei, Anhui, was “brought” (dailing) to Beijing by her cousin to be a housekeeper (baomu) and how a young man from Zhumadian, Henan, went to Beijing to take a job in a garbage collection centre already “arranged” by a laoxiang, see Hao Zaijin, , Baqianwan liumin buluo (Tribes of Eight Million Floaters) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui chubanshe, 1996), pp. 2425. A recent report in Migration News (e-mail edition, Vol. 5, No. 3. (1998), pp. 2122) also makes this clear. Citing the research of Zhao Shukai of the State Council Development Research Centre, the report states that although the number of rural workers in the cities increased less in the mid-1990s than between 1989 and 1994, due to rising prices for farm products and layoffs by state firms that increased local labour supplies in the cities, “more rural residents are reportedly waiting until their urban network contacts tell them about job openings before migrating.”

47. These findings raise the question of the validity of Todaro's expected income model of rural-urban migration in which job uncertainty is a basic assumption. As testing economic models of migration is not our purpose, we will not pursue this point any further.

48. In 1991, the State Council issued a directive concerning the hiring of peasant-workers by state-owned enterprises. Labour contracts may be signed with recruited peasants who agree to work for more than one year. Such workers are supposed to be treated in the same way as contract workers from urban places but are usually not. For details, see “Quanmin suoyouzhi qiye zhao yong nongmin hetongzhi gongren de guiding” (“Regulations governing the hiring of contract peasant-workers by state enterprises”), Zhonghua renmin gongheguo guowuyuan ling, di 87 hao (Directive of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, No. 87), 25 July 1991. Printed in Institute of Population Research, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Zhongguo renkou nianjian, 1992 (Almanac of China's Population, 1992) (Beijing: Jingji guanli chubanshe, 1992), pp. 1317.

49.Zou, Lanchun, Beijing's Floating Population, pp. 150–51, 343.

50. In some cases an enclave may contain migrants from two or more provinces. Most enclaves are formed by the inter-provincial migration of peasants. However, intra-provincial migration can also create peasant enclaves. For example, the people from Yueqing near Wenzhou have established a “light textile town of China,” reportedly China's largest light textile centre, in Keqian Zhen in the same province, Zhejiang, where a Wenzhou community in excess of 10,000 persons has emerged. See Xiang, Biao, “Zhengfu de da he xiao” (“The bigness and smallness of the government”), Zhongguo qingnian bao (Chinese Youth News), 4 01 1997.

51.Zou, Lanchun, Beijing's Floating Population, p. 114.

52. Here we adopt Paul Knox's terms. He differentiates three types of spatial clusters: colonies, enclaves and ghettos. A colony serves as a port-of-entry for members of a minority group in a host society. Enclaves are clusters of minority groups that have persisted over a longer period of time, and they are a product of the interaction between external discrimination and internal cohesion, especially when the latter is the more dominant force. When the external factors are more dominant, the residential clusters are called ghettos. See Paul, Knox, Urban Social Geography: An Introduction, 3rd edition (New York: Longman, 1995), pp. 191–92. The word “discrimination” can be applied to the Chinese case if one sees the hukou system as discriminative toward the migrants. Systemic bias aside, the extent to which the dominating population socially discriminates against the migrants has not been systematically examined.

53. Unless noted otherwise, information in this section is based on our fieldwork.

54. Field observation and Shijie ribao (World Journal), 23 02 1997, p. A8. None of these enclaves have been studied by scholars or reported by journalists in any detail.

55.Meizhou wenzhai (Weekly Digest), 1 03 1993.

56.Yangzi wanbao (Yangzi Evening News), 20 02 1995, p. 2. We are grateful to Professor Cui Gonghao of Nanjing University for this reference.

57. We are grateful to Professor Arsilan Mamut of Xinjiang Normal University for assistance rendered during our fieldwork in the villages in December 1996. This section also draws from Arsilan Mamut, Liu Erxiang and Hu Zhaoliang, “Beijing ‘Xinjiangcun’ jiyao” (“Major features of Beijing's ‘Xinjiang Village’”), unpublished research report, Department of Urban and Environmental Studies, Beijing University, July 1997. We thank Professor Hu Zhaoliang of Beijing University for providing this report.

58. However, one informant told us that there are some 1,500 Uygurs in the Ganjiakou Village.

59. During the 1980s, the Uygurs also dominated illegal and speculative money changing in Beijing, following and soliciting business from foreign visitors on the street.

60. Most of migrants in Anhui Village rent rooms from private individuals.

61. Information in this section is based largely on fieldwork carried out in Wenzhou and Beijing since 1992, through interviews with informants and field observation, supplemented by published sources, including Xiang, Biao, “Beijing you ge ‘Zhejiangcun,’” (“Beijing has a ‘Zhejiang Village,’”), Shehuixue yu shehui diaocha (Sociology and Social Investigation), No. 3 (1993), pp. 3639;Xiang, Biao, “Beijing ‘Zhejiangcun’ diaocha,” (“An investigation of Beijing's ‘Zhejiang Village’”), unpublished manuscript, Department of Sociology, Beijing University, 1993; Xiang Biao, “Chuantong yu xin shehui kongjian de shengcheng” (“Tradition and the formation of new social space”), Zhanlüe yu guanli (Strategy and Management), No. 6, (1996), pp. 99111.

62. By “Wenzhou region,” which is a commonly used term but not an official administrative unit, we mean Wenzhou City (Wenzhou shi), a prefecture-level city. The name Wenzhou has two meanings. In its narrow sense, it refers to the densely populated urban and suburban districts of Wenzhou, which may be considered as the urban core or city proper. In its broad sense, it refers to the large administrative area that in 1994 contained six rural counties (Pingyang, Yongjia, Taishun, Wencheng, Dongtou and Cangnan) and the city proper (shiqu). Yueqing City is a county-level city with extensive rural areas from which many of the residents of Beijing's Zhejiang Village have come, and it is located within the administrative boundaries of Wenzhou. In this paper, we use the term “Wenzhou region” or “Wenzhou area” to refer to the larger Wenzhou, or Wenzhou City. In 1994, Wenzhou region had 6.9 million people, of whom 85% had rural hukou. The city proper and its suburban district had a population of 1.1 million, of whom 60% were rural. See China Statistical Bureau, Urban Statistical Yearbook of China 1985 (Beijing: Zhongguo tongji chubanshe, 1996), p. 41.

63. Typically natural villages (zirancun) are evolved spontaneously over time. To facilitate rural administration, two or more adjacent natural villages, together with their farmland, may be organized into an “administrative village” (xingzhengcun) under a rural township (xiang).

64. This is a 1995 figure contained in a report on Zhejiang Village submitted by the government of Fengtai District to the city government of Beijing.

65.Mette, Thuno, “Moving stones from China to Europe: the dynamics of emigration from Zhejiang to Europe” and Li Minghuan, “To get rich quickly in Europe! – a study of migration motivation of the people in Wencheng qiaoxiang,” inPieke, and Mallee, , Chinese Migrants (forthcoming). We thank the authors for making their papers available to us.

66. In villages and small towns, cotton has always been the material most commonly used to keep warm. New cotton balls require fluffing before they can be used for quilts or coats, and old cotton contained in quilts and coats tends to clog after some time and it also needs occasional fluffing to re-spread it. Cotton fluffing, a centuries-old skill, requires simple equipment but much labour.

67. To protect the identities of these individuals, we use aliases here.

68. According to one of Wang Chunguang's informants, as early as 1981, there were already a dozen or so families from Zhejiang making clothes in the Village. By 1984 the number of migrants had reached about a thousand people. See Wang, Chunguang, Shehui liudong he shehui chonggou: jingcheng “Zhejiangcun” yanjiu (Social Mobility and Social Restructuring: A Study of the “Zhejiang Village” in the Capital City) (Hangzhou: Zhejiang renmin chubanshe, 1995), p. 35.

69. The difficulty of finding suitable clothing was only one of many problems faced by urban residents during the pre-reform era, due basically to the structural deficiencies of the pre-reform socialist system of production that de-emphasized consumer products and curbed the development of the tertiary sector. In the early 1980s, the lack of and the demand for such basic urban services as tailors, restaurants, porters, short-distance transportation, laundry services and various kinds of catering and repair trades were notorious. These jobs were largely looked down upon and avoided by the urban residents. At the same time, urban unemployment was severe, giving rise to a paradoxical situation characterized as “people without jobs” and “jobs without people.” See Jianzhong, Tang and Laurence, J. C. Ma, “Evolution of urban collective enterprises in China,” The China Quarterly, No. 104 (1985), p. 634.

70. In 1985, the city government began to pay serious attention to the development of the service sector in the urban economy. Many neighbourhood offices established “tertiary production offices” for this purpose. However, because of a lack of human and financial resources, most of the service establishments were subsequently leased out to peasant migrants.

71. These figures are based on 1996 field visits. By comparison, in rural Yueqing, Zhejiang, where most of the Wenzhouese in Zhejiang Village have originated, the average annual per capita cash savings in hand in 1996 was only 2,670 yuan. See Statistical Bureau of Yueqing City, Yueqing tongji nianjian (Statistical Yearbook of Yueqing 1997) (Yueqing: Zhejiang, 1997), p. 198. In Zhejiang Village, a family that can save only 10,000 to 20,000 yuan a year after living and other expenses is said to have “worked for nothing” (baigan).

72. The Wenzhou model is discussed in Kristen, Parris, “Local initiative and national reform: the Wenzhou model of development,” The China Quarterly, No. 134 (1993), pp. 242263;Yia-Ling, Liu, “Reform from below: the private economy and local politics in the rural industrialization of Wenzhou,” The China Quarterly, No. 130 (1992), pp. 293316;Liu, Alan P., “The ‘Wenzhou model’ of development and China's modernization,” Asian Survey, Vol. 32, No. 8 (1992), pp. 696711;Peter, Nolan and Dong, Furen (eds.), Market Forces in China: Competition and Small Business – The Wenzhou Debate (London: Zed Books, 1989);Zhang, Renshou and Li, Hong, Wenzhou moshe yanyiu (A Study of the Wenzhou Model) (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1990); andZhaoliang, Hu and Qilan, Xie, Xin shiji de Zhongguo chengshi (The Chinese City in the New Century) (Taibei: Tangshan chubanshe, 1996), pp. 89100.

73. This included Wangfujing Department Store, Dongan Market, Xidan Market and Fulong Tower (Fulong daxia).

74. The “Provisional regulations governing the leasing of counters by the commercial and service enterprises of Beijing City” allowed the lease of “surplus” counters to private businessmen.

75.Hansheng, Wang, Shiding, Liu, Liping, Sun and Xiang, Biao, “‘Zhejiangcun’: Zhongguo nongmin jincheng de yizhong dute fangshi (“‘Zhejiang Village’: a unique way for the Chinese peasants to enter the city”), Shehuixue yanjiu (Sociological Research), No. 1 (1997), p. 61.

76. The maximum amount of counter space that can be legally rented out is 30%. A business licence is required for a private businessman to rent counter space. As Wenzhou migrants work in rented rooms in peasant homes, it is impossible for them to obtain a Beijing licence, which cannot be issued without a fixed business location. But licences used to sign agreements of collaboration can be obtained in two ways. The most common is to use a copy of a licence issued by a town and village enterprise in Wenzhou, which is relatively easy to obtain through local guanxi networks. Secondly, licences can be rented from businesses located in Beijing. Some rent their licence from firms located in the poor regions of China. In the case of very small stores, no-one bothers to see any licence, especially since 1986 as collaboration between the state and private sectors has become widespread.

77. These include Muxiyuan Wholesale Market for Light Industrial Goods, Haihuisi Trading Market for Industrial Goods, Jingwen Apparel Market, Jingdu Light Textile Centre (a fabric and button wholesale market), Dahongmen Apparel and Merchandise Centre, and Chengzhongcheng (a large complex under construction in January 1998 to be used as an apparel wholesale market, with space for residential and other commercial uses).

78. The government authorities of the cities of Beijing and Wenzhou themselves are not directly involved in such joint investment ventures with the peasants. But the construction of so many large-scale projects in Zhejiang Village would not have been possible without the approval of Beijing's city government. The city's own benefits flow from more taxes collected in Fengtai.

79. The texts of these regulations are printed in Lanchun, Zou, Beijing's Floating Population pp. 289337.

80. It is relatively easy to renew the card. The only necessary document is a valid resident card (jumin shenfenzheng) which all Chinese citizens have. But female migrants of childbearing age must also produce a document from government authorities at home showing marriage and fertility status. See Lanchun, Zou, pp. 297–98.

81.Yin Zhijing, and Yu Qihong, , Zhongguo huji zhidu gaige (Reforming China's Household Registration System) (Beijing: Zhongguo fazheng daxue chubanshe, 1996), p. 92. In June 1997, the State Council approved a pilot plan designed by the Ministry of Public Security to allow qualified peasants to move to the built-up areas of county-level cities and designated towns where they will be registered as urban resident population. The document specifies that migration to large cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai will continue to be rigidly controlled. See Ministry of Public Security,Xiao chengzhen huji guanli zhidu gaige shidian fang'an” (“Pilot reform plan for the household residential registration system in small cities and towns”), Guowuyuan gongbao (Gazette of the State Council), No. 20 (27 01 1997), pp. 869872.

82.Rowe, , Hankow, p.215.

83.Goodman, , Native Place, City and Nation, pp. 16 and 62.

84.Johnson, , Shanghai, p. 152.

85. Counties with a large number of emigrants do maintain branch government offices in Beijing (zhujing banshichu). Such offices, however, are not particularly helpful to migrants, as their main function is to help their own government units and leaders. In Zhejiang Village, a few respected senior members of the community often mediate disputes among the Wenzhouese. The Industry and Commerce Bureau of Fengtai District in Beijing has organized a branch of the Individual Business People's Association in Dahongmen (Geti xiehui Dahongmen fenhui) for the Wenzhou migrants, and some migrants do belong to it. However, this government-sanctioned organization has little influence over the migrants. The only association organized and run by the migrants themselves that we are aware of is the Aixin she (Loving-Heart Club) in the Jingwen Apparel Centre in Zhejiang Village. Organized with the help of students from Beijing University, the club has helped the Centre's tenants protect their interests.

86. More research is needed to find out the extent to which such tasks were led by leaders with rural or urban roots, and if they were from elite or common peasant families. Such work would contribute to a better understanding of rural-urban relationships in Chinese history.

87. Issues of urban poverty, economic hardship suffered by local citizens and the urban welfare system remain little studied. Stories of how some entrepreneurial rural migrants have become rich in the cities can be found in Hao Zaijin, Tribes of Eight Million Floaters.

88. Under the xiagang (literally, “stepping down from one's post”) system, laid-off state workers receive either a small monthly stipend or nothing from their work units, while their positions are not officially eliminated. The system has affected government employees and enterprise workers alike. It has been announced that, from 1998 to 2000, the railway system will cut 1.1 million workers, one-third of its total, while the textile industry will trim 1.2 million. See The New York Times, 20 01 1998, p. A8.As of the end of 1997, some 11.5 million workers in state enterprises had already been laid off, and from 1998 to 2000 an additional eight to 11 million workers will be discharged. Beginning in 1998, the state will cut Party and government employees from the central government, and, from 1999 to 2000, the cut will be extended to local government agencies, affecting as many as four million cadres. See Shijie ribao (World Journal), 1 03 1998, p. A8 and 3 March 1998, p. A7. These cuts will certainly lead to serious urban unemployment which may adversely affect the employment opportunities of the rural migrants.

89.Honig, , “Native place and the making of Chinese ethnicity,” p. 147.

90. This notion is detailed in Naughton, Barry, Growing Out of the Plan: Chinese Economic Reform, 1978–1993 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

1 We would like to thank the Henry Luce Foundation and the Ford Foundation respectively for their support of our fieldwork in Wenzhou, Zhejiang and Beijing. We are also grateful to Professor Hu Zhaoliang of Beijing University for his kind assistance and encouragement and to four anonymous referees for their constructive comments which helped improve this paper.

Native Place, Migration and the Emergence of Peasant Enclaves in Beijing*

  • Laurence J. C. Ma and Biao Xiang


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