Migration and the City—Internal and International Dynamics in China

Urban China stands at the juncture of two cross-cutting strands of migration, namely internal and international. In 2015, Chinese cities hosted more than 160 million internal migrants and more than 30 million international migrants. This amounts to the largest ever non-wartime population mobility in the world. The rapid rise of both migratory flows to Chinese cities is closely embedded in drastic social, economic and cultural transformations in the past decades, in particular rapid and partial urbanisation and globalisation, segmented economic development, and fragmented cultural changes. Beneath the veneer of the astronomical figures, both internal and international migration to and out of urban China assume diverse forms, which encompass labour, family, environment, tourism and educational mobility. They also represent multifaceted experiences—personal and social, rational and emotional, economic and cultural, institutional and legal, local and global. Such experiences present fresh challenges to urban global justice, and they concern issues ranging from social inclusion and exclusion to welfare provision, and from social inequalities to intimate encounters. With an aim to encompass, showcase, compare, and bring into conversation the multiple forms and facets of migratory experiences in global urban China, this session will cover, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Diverse forms and experiences of global urban mobilities in China
  • Comparative focus on internal, regional and international dynamics
  • Migration and sociocultural integration
  • Migration, rights, and citizenship
  • Gendered migratory experiences


Dr. Yang Hu, University of Lancaster yang.hu@lancaster.ac.uk

Dr. Daniel Nehring, University of Worcester dfnehring@googlemail.com