But migrating from the countryside to the city came with its own challenges.
Rural Chinese are wary of giving up their rural hukou, which entitles them to a small plot of land.
Such land use rights provide a limited safety net for rural Chinese – particularly those who do not enjoy the benefits of an urban pension.
Signatories of Charter 08 – a progressive manifesto for the future of China – said that an alternative system should be established, which “gives every citizen the same constitutional rights and the same freedom to choose where to live”.
So far, the CCP has ignored calls to abolish the hukou system.
But these investments have neither stemmed the flow of rural-urban migration, nor addressed the core issue of increasing social inequality.