It’s the biggest migration in human history: China’s population is moving to cities so fast that by 2030, roughly one in eight people on this earth will be a resident of a Chinese city.
That great influx is helping create the world’s largest number of slum-dwellers. Right now, China has 220 million migrant workers. These workers live without “hukou,” the permit that allows Chinese people to buy an apartment or send their children to public school. Without hukou, these workers have become second-class citizens in their own home, living in squalid rooms on the outskirts of cities, places with no heat in the winter and no cool air in the summer. They are crowded into communities with only public toilets, where rubbish piles up in heaps.
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