Regulating the population in China’s major cities won’t alleviate the smog that has been choking northern China the past several months, a leading demographer told a symposium held at the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), a leading think tank, in Beijing on Jan 6. Liang Jianzhang, a demographer with Peking University, said the opposite is actually true, suggesting that big cities should welcome more rural migrants and further promote service-oriented manufacturing. Liang, who is also vice president of CCG and co-founder and executive chairman of Ctrip, said most migrants would work in service-oriented industries in big cities if they were accepted. However, Liang said, if they return home, those people have no choice but to take jobs in labor-intensive steel or iron manufacturing sectors, which worsen pollution. “What matters the most when trying to cut smog is enlarging the level of urbanization.” “Cities and metros are not only leading the way in sustainability, they offer an intrinsically greener, less wasteful and more energy efficient way of life than smaller cities, suburbs and even small towns,” Liang added. Mega cities like Beijing and Shanghai however are stepping up their efforts to control the growth of their population, which results in populations becoming more thinly spread. According to Liang’s study, China’s mega cities are less dense than their equivalents elsewhere in the world. Given China’s GDP per capita, the scale of urbanization in its big cities is still at a low rate, about 20 percent lower than other countries’ with similar…more detail
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