BEIJING, Aug. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- As the sixth national census begins in Beijing, overpopulation, a lingering topic of public discourse in the national capital, is again making headlines.
The 20 million or so regular residents impose an unbearable weight on the city, which lacks water, land, and every conceivable resource needed for the subsistence of a modern metropolis.
Yet, people keep swarming in. The municipal authorities are racking their heads for ways to prevent the local population from growing too rapidly - though, so far, largely in vain.
The latest round of complaints about the "population explosion", as was true of each previous round, has brought some "fresh" perspectives. Ideas that put more emphasis on regulation by "market mechanisms." Instead of imposing an administrative threshold to keep the unwanted population away, experts are now in favor of encouraging "high-end" industries and discouraging "low-end" ones.
This may, to some extent, help "refine" the structure of the local population. But it is unlikely to be a cure for overpopulation. That will not change unless the distribution of public resources does. Beijing is not an attractive place for healthy living. But people still come from across the country, and not without reason.
The privileged status of the city as the national capital has rendered it unparalleled benefits other places can only dream about. With the majority, and the best, of the country's resources concentrated on Beijing, it has no choice but to be a population magnet. The ultimate solution to Beijing's population headache therefore lies in changing the manner our national wealth is distributed. National policies should work to mitigate regional inequities, instead of worsening them.