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Mailing Address:  
Department of Geography  
Box 353550  
University of Washington  
Seattle, WA 98195  
Phone: (206) 543-6994 
Fax: (206) 543-3313 

 Kam Wing Chan  陳金永

   Department of Geography 
   University of Washington 



My Latest Books!


Urban China Reframed: A Critical Appreciation,

edited by Wing-Shing Tang and Kam Wing Chan

2021, Routledge 174 pages


Children of Migrants in China

edited by Kam Wing Chan and Yuen Ren

2020 Routledge 186 pages


Urbanization with Chinese Characteristics: The Hukou System and Migration

Kam Wing Chan

2018 Routledge 222 pages (Preview, Chapter One)



My recent commentaries:


     China’s hukou reform remains a major challenge to domestic migrants in cities, World Bank Blogs, December 17, 2021. In observance of International Migrants Day, Dec 18. China’s rise as a global player in manufacturing is closely linked to its epic-scale internal migrant labor supply and its associated “semi-urbanization” strategy of the past four decades.  The huge number of low-cost urban laborers who constitute the bulk of China’s “floating population” (liudong renkou) have helped keep the price of Chinese manufactures low and make them fiercely competitive in the world market. However,… Read more...



     What the 2020 Chinese Census Tells Us about Progress in Hukou Reform, China Brief, July 2021. The People’s Republic of China recently published its seventh national ten-year 2020 Census results, which led to much discussion and commentary about the development implications of low population growth and a rapidly aging population. Fewer have noted insights that the 2020 Census has provided into the progress of China’s long-awaited reforms to its household registration system … Read more




      A China Geographer’s View of the World’s Largest Cities, 2022 (in press).   Back in high school times in Hong Kong still under British colonial rule, I read with great interest in the South China Morning Post that Shanghai was the largest or second largest city in the world. As a (Hong Kong) Chinese, I was quite pleased to learn of our country’s accomplishment…. ... Read more


     China’s Precious Children, Eurasian Pulse 2019. China’s population has been in the international spotlight for decades not only because it is the world’s largest, but also because the “one-child” family planning

policy, introduced in 1980, was the world’s biggest, and probably also one of the

harshest, social engineering projects ... Read more


感謝母親 感謝香江,星島日報(美西版) 2018514   在一九六四年,母親帶著我們一家五口(包括年邁的祖母),拿著單程證,從汕頭移居香港   閲讀全文


   单程票的迁徙者:罗伦斯《迁移系列》的启示  财新网, 20170413    60幅画讲述了黑人在1910-1930年从南向北、从乡村到城市大迁移的故事,对于我们思考与分析中国的城乡二元制、寻找解决的道路应有启发。  閲讀全文


   中国户籍改革能从美国学什么  《东方早报》20151229       人们往往用美国的国际移民管理与中国户籍制度基础上的国内移民管理作比较,这两种制度确实有很多类似的地方。美国的移民和发展经验及管理制度规定,可以为推动中国户籍改革提供一些有用的参考。  閲讀全文


     China’s Missing Children, South China Morning Post, December 16, 2015.     A new generation of children is growing up in China’s countryside with one or no parents around most of the year. The 2010 census counted 61 million children in that category. Nearly half had no parents at home... Read more


渐进的、破冰的全面户籍改革  《保尔森基金会政策备忘录》, 201412    戶籍改革是关乎中国发展的重大课题。中国的耕地有限,比美国的还要少,但仍然有二亿多人口依靠农业为生,八亿多仍然拿着“农村户口”的人口。中国要进一步发展,走城镇化的道路,同时让农民工“市民化”,是无可避免的选择。、...閲讀全文


Related Links:

        中国流动人口约2.3亿 美媒称户籍改革应更大胆,参考消息, 2014-12-19

Achieving Comprehensive Hukou Reform in China, Paulson Policy Memo, December 2014


        China’s Closed Cities Threaten Population Goals, Report Says,, December 17, 2014



      People Not Buildings — China’s New Approach to Urbanization, Bloomberg Brief, October 2014   China’s creaking household registration system, known as the hukou, was a product of Mao’s industrialization strategy. The system has been a barrier to full participation in the social and economic life of the city for hundreds of millions of migrants. ….  Read more


      Migration and Urbanization in China, Seattle Times, May 21,  2014   In the last three decades, China has undergone rapid and massive urbanization. Today, more than 700 million people live in cities and towns, more than triple the nearly 200 million in 1980.. ….  Read more


城鎮化新藍圖的突破與不足  《明報》, 201442    各方期待多時的《國家新型城鎮化規劃》(下稱《規劃》)3月中終於公布,這也是中國首部國家級城鎮化規劃。自1949年起,中國始建城鄉二元體制,推行「中國式」城鎮化, 以法律、政治手段將社會、人口、勞動力等割裂成不平等的兩塊,並將戶籍制度與城鎮化緊緊綑綁。、...閲讀全文


         Related Link:

         China’s Urbanization 2020: A New Blueprint and Direction, Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2014, No.1


The Great Change  South China Morning Post, March 27, 2014 China's bold new urbanisation plan raises many questions, not least how the increased social costs will be funded and whether the focus on small cities can achieve the desired result….  Read more            


滬學生評估奪冠的光環背後  《明報》, 2014-1-3    OECDPISA 2012年學生評估測驗,上海再奪冠,在國際(包括本港)引起不少爭議。有人認為這是中國實力上升的表現,同時也憂心戚戚,尤其有些美國人,深怕沒法與中國人競爭。反而有些人認為不必過度歡欣(或惶恐),測驗分數不代表分析能力、創造力;這樣說的人,、...閲讀全文


         Related Links:

         Shanghai Test Scores and the Mystery of the Missing Children, The New York Times, January 23, 2014   

          查封非法办学,外地孩子咋办,今日话题 2014-10-25

           Hukou de génie Laviemoderne, December 29, 2015

                  China is not Eating Our Lunch, The Seattle Times, January 3, 2011



外来”与未来:美国移改对中国户改的启示  中国改革, 2013年第8, 2013-8-1    改革移民制度、户籍制度,中美各自都说了十多年。这个题目终于成为今年的热门课题。经过多月来艰苦的讨论和谈判,美国参议院在6月底以大比数压倒性通过了30多年来最重要的移民改革法案,主要内容是让1100万无证移民可以成为合法居民。.... 阅读全文


   户籍改革路线图 财新《新世纪》, 2013年 第18, 2013-05-13   2015年开始, 所有大中小城镇,首先向外地大学毕业生开放,然后向有熟练技术又有稳定就业的农民工开放,再逐步有序地向其他农民工开放.... 阅读全文


    Related Links:

       十五年完成户籍改革 《中国改革》2013年 第6, 2013-6-1

    A Road Map for Reforming China’s Hukou System, China Dialogue, October 22, 2013.


      Cities of Dreams South China Morning Post, January 19, 2013              Dreams are in vogue in mainland China. During a widely publicised tour of Shenzhen, the new head of the Communist Party, Xi Jinping, called for the realisation of the “Chinese dream”…. Read more


       Related Link:

      圆“城市梦”须改革户籍制度,参考消息, 2013-1-21


      Not Quite There Yet   July 1, 2012 (with Dorothy Solinger)  Chasing China’s middle class shoppers has been American business’ “China dream” for decades. In a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Chasing China’s Shoppers” (June 15, 2012, B1), the authors attributed the lack of success of some American businesses in China to their misjudgment of its middle-class shoppers' preferences. … ..    Read more



       Path to Riches is Paved through Cities  China Daily, May 25, 2012.  Last year marked a milestone in China’s several-thousand-year history: for the first time, more people lived in cities and towns than in the countryside. The country’s 690 million urban dwellers now account for 51.3 percent of China’s total population of 1.35 billion. … .   Read the full article.


       Related links:

       Can China’s Urbanisation Save the World? Conversation, June 1, 2012.



       Apple’s Secret  The Ave, January 23, 2012    Apple, despite its innovative greatness, has a reputation for secrecy. “How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work” (The New York Times, January 22) puts some of its secrets, perhaps dirty ones, out in the open. …..     Read the full text



   F(r)ee Country   The Ave,January 15, 2012            As a lifelong foreign student of English I’ve been intrigued, if at times confused, by the magical power of certain words to conceal as well as to reveal. For example, after twenty years in this free country, I have finally come to learn about the real meanings …   Read the full text


   The Limp in China’s Great Leap   The Seattle Times, December 6,  2011.    With the U.S. economy in the doldrums and Europe's ongoing debt crisis continuing its downward spiral, analysts are left to wonder if China might be the savior of the global economy or, rather, whether the country is simply a multitrillion bubble about to burst…    Read the full text


     美國夢、中國夢,仍然遙遠  星島日報》(美西版)2011-11-30 剛下筆開始寫這篇文章時,在紐約的兒子就傳來電郵,說警察已在清晨時份強制清走在曼哈頓祖科蒂公園的帳篷。有人說,一個人沒有夢,生命也就死了。一個沒有夢的社會,是一個死的社會。... 阅读全文


        In the City, but Not of the City: the Myth of China’s Urbanization China-US Focus, July 16, 2011.     In the popular media and the business world, urbanization is often the most cited fundamental driver of global economic growth, especially for the next few decades. The assumption is that such a rural-urban shift will transform poor farmers into industrial and office workers, raise their incomes and create a mass consumer class....  Read the full text


         Related links:

         Bright Lights, Big Questions About China's Urban Legend, Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2011.  (中文译文: 中国式城市化的发展症结


            Urban Myth, South China Morning Post, August 24, 2011.


            Plight of the Rat Pack, The Straits Times, September 10, 2011


        Mothers Who Understand the Importance of Education, The Ave, May 7, 2011.    Many mothers understand the importance of education.  Some pushy ones, like the “tiger mom” who has ignited a firestorm of debate about parenting, have given mom a bad name.  Many others, gentler and far less known, in my opinion, are equally powerful and decidedly smarter,……     Read the full text


         China’s High-Speed Trains: Too Fast, Too Furious, China-US Focus, March 28, 2011. This year China endured its grueling 40-day annual chunyun – the epic “spring movement” of an estimated 120 million people traveling long distances home and back during the Lunar New Year interlude. This took place right after China entered its glittering bullet-train age last year…    Read the full text



        China is Not ‘Eating Our Lunch’, The Seattle Times, January 3, 2011.    The lackluster performance of our 15-year-olds in math, science and reading in a standardized test compared with Shanghai's students scoring first in all three subjects, have stirred some interesting and somewhat self-deprecating comments. President Obama declared it a "Sputnik moment," …

          Read the full text


          中国要走正常城镇化道路  财新网    (2010-12-8)    城镇化将成为中国经济下一轮的新增长点,但如何结合发展战略,具体走什么样的城镇化的路,是目前急需要探讨的问题..               阅读全文

    户籍改革如何在渐进中突破  南方报网   (2010-03-10  )   在金融危机后的中国, 户口改革又成为热烘烘讨论的话题。温总理最近讲了几次关于开放中小城市的户籍,要解决好民工的新生代的就业和生活问题,要利用城市化推动内需。户籍改革已经谈了十几年…                                    阅读全文

        Making Real Hukou Reform,  East Asia Forum, March 3, 2010         Yes it’s true – hukou (household registration) reform is again back in vogue in China’s ‘post-crisis’ conversations. Premier Wen Jiabao has been talking....       Read the full text

        The Problem with China’s Population Data, Dragonbeat,  July 14, 2009.         How big are Chinese cities? That depends on how you measure them.  Back in 2005, Time magazine proclaimed that Chongqing had become “the largest city not only in China but in the world”, with a population in excess of 30m....       Read the full text




         Last updated:  September 24, 2021