BEIJING, Jan. 7 -- Urbanization in China should adopt a more people-oriented approach with greater efforts to guarantee equal access to public services.
Zheng Fengtian, vice dean of the agricultural economics and rural development school with Renmin University of China, made the remarks in a program on Chinese reforms aired on Tuesday on China Xinhua News Agency Network Co. Ltd. (CNC).
Efforts should be made to integrate migrant workers into urban living and change the current situation of "halfway urbanization", Zheng said.
About 52 percent of people live in cities, while only 35 percent of the total population have their "hukou" (residential registration) as an urbanite, Zheng said.
"That is to say, about 200 million people work in cities but are off limits to urban residents' welfare benefits in terms of education, medicare and housing among others," he said.
Wu Dongcai, chief of the local Communist Party of China organization in the village of Yonglian in east China's Jiangsu Province, agreed that the level of urban social security falls short of the development pace of urbanization.
"Urbanization is not only about building the cities' infrastructures, but should solve people's livelihood matters," Wu told the CNC program.
Wu said industrialization should be promoted as the basis of urbanization to sustain its long-lasting development.
Zheng stressed coordinated progress in industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization to secure balanced development.
Zheng said because China is a large country, various patterns of urbanization can be adopted, including developing city clusters or turning rural villages into towns.x Wu said the development of industrial corporation, farming, tourism and a business park in his village has provided job opportunities for about 96 percent of villagers and only about 280 out of 10,000 villagers in Yonglian are now working out of their hometown.
The village also offers a special allowance for villagers to encourage a modern lifestyle.
A high-level meeting attended by President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other top Chinese leaders last month pledged proactive yet steady moves in pushing forward "human-centered urbanization" as it looks to balance urban-rural development and boost domestic demand.
According to a statement released after the meeting, China will take measures to enable migrant workers to have urbanite status and ensure quality urbanization.
"I believe China's urbanization has huge potential with great opportunities, and the development of the country's economy will also be sustained in the upcoming decades," Zheng said.