Yu Jianrong on Closing of Migrant Schools

China Media Project has translates an online chat conducted with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Professor Yu Jianrong about the recent closures of schools for the children of migrant workers:

Over the past six months, more than 30 schools for the children of migrant workers have been closed down in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, Daxing District and other areas. Thousands of migrant worker children face a situation in which they have no schools to go to. Whose interests did these migrant worker schools come up against? Why were these schools for the children of migrant workers abandoned? On August 16 at 7:30pm, Tencent’s “Sharing Ideas” (思享时间) program invited Yu Jianrong (于建嵘), a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Rural Development Research Center to explore this question: Who did schools for migrant workers come up against?

Zhang Anping (张安平): Hello, Professor Yu. Concerning the multitude of forced demolitions and cases of resistance against forced demolition, I have four questions. 1. Is the issue that local governments pursue only GDP growth and disregard the central government’s 305 order (中央三令五申) [against forced demolition]? 2. Or is it that the central government is giving tacit permission, and 305 is just to appease the public, doing something on the surface. 3. Is it illegal for the people to oppose forced demolition? 4. If one meets with forced demolition, what is the best thing to do?

Yu Jianrong: With demolition there’s the issue of political point-making by local governments, and then there’s the issue of the interests of local leaders, and these actually concern the politics of the central government. Right now many local [governments] are [supported by] land financing (土地财政), and the nation emphasize stability before all else. Without land financing, local governments would have no way of operating, and that’s the most outstanding stability issue. But forced demolition is just about the stability of a few. If it came to a choice between the two, of course they would choose the former. [NOTE: Yu is saying that between being insolvent by not playing the land financing politics that lead to violence and the stability issues that emerge from demolition, leaders choose the former path, opting for demolition and removal of residents.]

Jiang Xiaohua (蒋小华): I wonder why Professor Yu does not recruit the best people possible and jointly create a national chain of schools for migrant workers’ children. The whole country is avoiding this question, but the issue of education for the children of migrant workers is really important. There are many people in China who prioritize education and it would certainly gain everyone’s support. What do you think?

Yu Jianrong: I don’t know how to do it. If you have a good plan, of course I would support you.

Read more by and about Yu Jianrong via CDT.


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