55 巻 (2009) 2 号 p. 10-22
After the implentation of the Open Door policy, especially since the 1990s onward, increasing social fluidity has dramatically changed the basic traits of Chinese society. People have been able to attain higher social status through regional and occupational mobility, while at the same time institutions or social values that promote human mobility have gradually been created.
This wave of mobility in China has had a global impact in terms of the increasing number of international students and the level of overseas migration. On the other hand, increasing numbers of foreign multinationals have come to China in search of good students and employees, which has accelerated both the inflow and outflow of transnational migration.
In this process, a large number of social problems have emerged.
The increasing number of peasant workers in urban China highlights contradictions in the registration system (hukou zhidu) and the seriousness of domestic regional inequality.
The emergence of an equitable society necessitates the creation of a nationwide educational infrastructure which can guarantee fair competition among citizens. Local welfare policy should be coordinated to respond to increasing social fluidity and solve conflicts between local residents and the incoming population.
Policies on international students and immigration vary from country to country, but many OECD countries are facing new challenges from their increasing numbers of Chinese residents. Intensifying global competition to recruit the best talent is producing greater social inequalities in China.
A key factor in the future of Chinese society will be how foreign governments as well as local/central governments in China overcome such contradictions and challenges.