In today’s MSNBC article Beijing starts locking poor villages at night, it is being reported that Beijing’s migrant communities will effectively be locked down in an effort to prevent crime. According to the article, residents entering and exiting areas will be asked to show their documents to law enforcement (assumed to be Hukou and/or temporary residence permits) at night in the 16 villages. Experts in the article are quoted as saying that this is a move that not only looks bad, but also will only serve to more deeply ingrain existing discrimination. Discrimination that is part of the core problem of migrant crime.
It is an action that is surely being taken with short term security goals in mind, but as the quoted experts suggest, the long term implication of the “Sealed Management” policy are likely to only exacerbate the underlying issues that exist. Which will likely do little to relieve the pressures of future instability and security within the population as the feelings of isolation and discrimination are only reinforced by policies that single them out as “the problem”.
Long term the problems are more complex.
Issues of economic and physical security at the forefront of crime, long term the policies will need to be focused on offering migrants an opportunity to reap the rewards for their work to build and support cities, but also ensure that their investments be protected.
To learn more about my thoughts on creating stable communities and cities, please refer to my recent pitch from the BMW Young Leaders Forum