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China's urbanization drive could fuel social unrest over land disputes and pose financial risks if money is thrown around recklessly, a senior communist party official and a leading economist said on Thursday.
Shifting people from the countryside to cities is a policy priority for China's new leaders as they seek to sustain economic growth that last year slowed to a 13-year low of 7.8 percent. The government hopes 60 percent of China's population of almost 1.4 billion will be urban residents by 2020.
China's new leaders are planning a system of national residence permits to replace the household registration or 'hukou' regime, a government source said, a vital reform that will boost its urbanization campaign and drive consumption-led growth.
The hukou system, which dates to 1958, has split China's 1.3 billion people along urban-rural lines, preventing many of the roughly 800 million Chinese who are registered as rural residents from settling in cities and enjoying basic urban welfare and services.
Mar. 12 - A shock wave through the entire economy, declining asset prices and peoples' savings wiped out. Gillem Tulloch talks to Tara Joseph about the 'when' not 'if' of China's property bubble bursting.