Urbanization isn't just about the numbers

Updated: 2013-07-09 21:35


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Urbanization levels should not only be evaluated by the urbanization rate, said an article in the Beijing Youth Daily (excerpts below).

Han Jun, associate director of the State Council Development Research Center, said to the media recently that China's urbanization rate has gradually increased from 22 percent in 1990 to 52.57 percent in 2012. It is expected that China's urbanization rate will reach 60 percent in 2020 and 66 percent in 2030.

China has experienced a rapid growth in urbanization in recent years. There were media reports in 2009 that China took 30 years to reach an urbanization level that took Western countries 200 years. It is not only because of opening-up and reform policy, but also a desire to narrow the gap between urban areas and countryside.

We are excited about the rapid growth of urbanization. But the question is whether the ever-increasing figure really represents an increasing urbanization development level. Urbanization is incomplete in many areas in China. Some residents have been counted as part of the urban population but they haven't received equal treatment with urban citizens.

These people's income and expenditure can hardly be compared with urban citizens. More than 200 million migrant workers, who actually live and work in urban cities, lag far behind urban citizens in education, medical treatment and social security.

Therefore we cannot evaluate the level of urbanization only on statistical figures. To avoid the false GDP-oriented development model in the process of urbanization, there should be a sound evaluation system rather than only urbanization rates.