Posts tagged ‘Hukou system’

12/07/2015

13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Faced with a persistent influx of rural workers, China’s most populous province plans to allow more migrant residents to settle permanently in its cities, in its latest effort to ease decades-old curbs on rural-urban migration.

Under new guidelines published this week, Guangdong authorities aim to grant local household registration to roughly 13 million migrant workers by 2020, allowing them to access public services—spanning housing, health-care, social security and education—that are typically reserved for urban residents.

Guangdong has often taken the lead in efforts to liberalize the hukou system, a national household-registration regime that curbs rural-urban migration by tying benefits like health care and pensions to a person’s place of birth. Experts say the system forces many rural migrants to live as second-class citizens in urban areas, aggravating social inequality while fueling tensions between locals and outsiders.

Hukou reforms are a pressing matter for Guangdong, a southern Chinese manufacturing hub that hosts the country’s largest transient population. Among its roughly 110 million residents, more than 24 million are migrants from other regions, while another 10.6 million have relocated within the province.

“Reforming the household-registration system will speed up our province’s urbanization process, and facilitate the coordinated development of the Pearl River Delta region,” Peng Hui, deputy director-general of Guangdong’s public security department, told a news briefing this week.

As part of the reforms, provincial officials will aim to “equalize” the provision of public services and ensure “balanced” economic development between rural and urban areas, according to the new guidelines.

China has used the hukou system since the 1950s to keep people from moving to the cities and forming the sort of slums that plague other developing nations. In recent decades, however, rural migrants have increasingly bucked the system to seek better opportunities in urban areas, without approval to live there.

Beijing, for its part, has since changed tack and pushed to urbanize its population of nearly 1.4 billion people, of which about 45% still in live in rural areas. But experts say the government must speed up its dismantling of the hukou system, warning that social tensions could fester and even boil over in the coming decade as China’s “floating population” of more than 250 million continues to expand.

Last year, Beijing pledged some changes to the hukou system, with restrictions to be lifted first in small towns. More stringent requirements will remain on those who want to live in larger cities, which are generally more attractive to migrants.

 

Guangdong’s plan follows a similar approach. Provincial officials say they plan to “fully liberalize” settlement rules in small, county-level cities and so-called “administratively designated towns,” where migrants with legal and stable places of residence will be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

via 13 Million Guangdong Migrants Could Gain Permanent Residence By 2020 – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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11/09/2014

The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek

On July 30, China’s State Council announced plans to abolish the old residence registration permit—or hukou—that distinguished rural from urban households. The move was long overdue.

Young Chinese children attend a kindergarten set up for migrant workers in Beijing

The hukou system was enacted in 1958 as away to limit movement between the countryside and cities. At that time, the Chinese Communist Party was explicitly anti-urban and antibusiness. After economic reform began in 1978, the hukou became increasingly anachronistic as millions of migrant workers left farms and villages for new jobs in factories and private companies in the cities. Yet they were penalized because, without local household registration papers, these migrants were denied access to public health care, education, and other social services.

The new system, however, will be only a partial fix. Discrepancies between rural and urban tax collection will gradually be phased out, but access to services will still be linked to location. While smaller cities may be willing to accept newly registered residents, the governments of China’s leading metropolises—including Beijing and Shanghai—are overburdened and still actively trying to discourage new residents (other than wealthy arrivals) from putting down roots.

via The Change in China’s Hukou Policy Is Slow to Help Migrant Families – Businessweek.

30/07/2014

China Focus: Hukou reforms to help 100 mln Chinese – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China plans to help about 100 million people without urban ID records to settle in towns and cities by 2020, as part of reforms to phase out its dual-household registration system, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said on Wednesday.

It issued a circular aimed at accelerating reform of the nation’s household registration, or “hukou,” system.

The document said the government will remove the limits on hukou registration in townships and small cities, relax restrictions in medium-sized cities, and set qualifications for registration in big cities.

The rights and benefits of residents who do not have urban ID records in the city where they live should be safeguarded, the document added.

At a press conference on Wednesday, vice public security minister Huang Ming said different approaches will be applied in the hukou system, based on the size and population of a city.

Authorities will set no limits for those who want to settle in small cities and towns. “Anyone who has a legal residence can register for permanent residence, even temporary tenants,” Huang said.

Medium-sized cities with a population between one million and three million will have a low threshold, while megacities with more than five million residents will try to strictly control the influx of new citizens.

People wishing to settle in megacities like Beijing and Shanghai will have to qualify through a “points system” based on their seniority in employment, their accommodation and social security, according to Huang.

Megacities “face a lot population pressure, with an annual floating population of hundreds of thousands,” the official said.

via China Focus: Hukou reforms to help 100 mln Chinese – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

30/07/2013

China urbanization cost could top $106 billion a year: think-tank

Reuters: “The cost of settling China’s rural workers into city life in the government’s urbanization drive could be about 650 billion yuan ($106 billion) a year, the equivalent of 5.5 percent of fiscal revenue last year, a government think-tank said on Tuesday.

A man rides an escalator near Shanghai Tower (R, under construction), Jin Mao Tower (C) and the Shanghai World Financial Center (L) at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The figure is based on the assumption that 25 million people a year settle in cities, with the government spending the money on making sure they enjoy the same benefits in healthcare, housing and schools that city residents have, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences(CASS) said.

“I think the biggest obstacle for turning rural migrant workers into urban citizens is the cost issue,” Wei Houkai, a researcher at CASS, told a news conference, adding that to achieve equality of treatment could take until 2025.

Millions of migrant workers from the countryside and smaller towns work in China’s big cities, often in low-paid manual work, but lack access to education, health and other services tied to the country’s strict household registration – or hukou – system.

China sees the urbanization drive as pushing domestic consumption, which it wants to make the main engine of growth for the economy, replacing exports and manufacturing and investment.

Rural migrant laborers only earned an average 2,049 yuan a month in 2011, or 59 percent of average urban workers’ salary, CASS added.

But they need to pay about 18,000 yuan annually per capita to be able to live in cities and another 100,000 yuan on average for housing, it said.”

via China urbanization cost could top $106 billion a year: think-tank | Reuters.

28/06/2013

China Moves on Reforming Hukou?

BusinessWeek: “Is China finally ready to make some serious progress on reforming its restrictive household registration or hukou policy? That’s the decades-old residency system that gives all Chinese an official status as either urban or rural (as indicated in a small red passbook). On June 26, China’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission announced in a report on urbanization that “the government should gradually tear down household registration obstacles to facilitate the orderly migration of people from rural to urban areas,” according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Residential buildings in Beijing

To date, the hukou system has not only discriminated against hundreds of millions of Chinese, making it difficult for them to live comfortable lives in cities, it has also been an obstacle to Beijing’s desire to reorient towards a more domestic consumption-driven economy. Even though China became a country with an urban majority in 2011, some 230 million of those now living in the cities still have a rural hukou. That means they do not have access to the same healthcare and education benefits as other urbanites, and often can’t purchase apartments or even get a driver’s license. As a result, most end up being big savers, in preparation for an eventual move back to the countryside—not the free-spending Chinese necessary for Beijing’s rebalancing policy to succeed.

The latest proposal by the NDRC is part of a larger package of policies now being drafted, aimed at pushing faster urbanization in China. The commission’s recommendation for hukou reform however appears fairly modest. Rather than allowing the free flow of people to all of China’s urban areas, it instead allows rural residents the right to first get residency in smaller cities. That is a good first step.”

via China Moves on Reforming Hukou? – Businessweek.

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17/12/2012

* Testing time for China’s migrants as they demand access to education

If 1/3 of the population of Beijing consists of migrant workers, then the city authority better watch out. Sooner rather than  later the anger and frustration will erupt into something very violent.  That applies equally to central government unless it reforms the Hukou system that is at least two if not three decades out-of-date.

SCMP: “Dozens of frustrated parents crowded into a Beijing office, surrounding an education official and brandishing copies of the constitution to demand their children be allowed to take an exam.

china_gaokao.jpg

Mothers and fathers around the world fight to send their children to the best schools they can, in the hopes of drastically improving their futures.

But China’s migrant families are victims of a decade-old residency system that denies urban incomers equal access to advantages from jobs and healthcare to the right to buy a home or car – and education.

Chinese university admission is based on a single test, the “gaokao”.

Cities such as Beijing that host China’s best universities – and large incomer populations – only allow those with official residency permits, or “hukou”, to take their exam and benefit from preferential quotas for places.

Around a third of the capital’s 20 million population are migrants, but many of their families become split by rules requiring their children to go to their “home” provinces – even if they have never lived there – sometimes for years, to study for and take the test, which varies by location.

Even then, because of the quota system they will have to score higher to win places at top schools.

“Either you let the country share in your education resources or you accept the reality that outsiders are stuck in your education gutter,” said Du Guowang, a 12-year Beijing resident from Inner Mongolia.

He and dozens of parents packed Beijing’s education bureau each week hoping – in vain – it would let their children take next year’s exam. But registration closed last week.

“This will directly affect their studies and their future prospects so of course it’s unfair,” said Xu Zhiyong, a prominent legal activist who has assisted the parents.

Over the past three decades more than 230 million people – four times the entire population of Britain – have moved to China’s cities in a phenomenal mass migration.

The hukou system restrictions date back to 1958, when the government sought, among its many controls, to designate where people should farm in rural areas, and work or live for those in towns.

It has loosened the rules in recent decades to encourage urbanisation, and acknowledges the need to better accommodate newcomers – especially as resentment mounts over China’s widening rural-urban inequality.

At a key gathering of the ruling Communist Party last month, President Hu Jintao urged officials to “accelerate” hukou reform and work to “ensure that all permanent urban residents have access to basic urban public services”.

But bigger cities are less willing to share residency or benefits, fearing doing so would burden their already strained resources and spur a new influx.

Some point to congested roads and overcrowded hospitals to argue that cities cannot handle larger loads.

But critics say the system is discriminatory.

Full reform would need years, but should begin sooner to defuse resentment, said Wang Zhenyu, deputy director of a public policy research centre at China University of Political Science and Law.

“From the basics like education and healthcare to social security to employment to buying a home or car, hukou-based discrimination covers every aspect,” he said. “Your hukou will affect you your entire life.””

via Testing time for China’s migrants as they demand access to education | South China Morning Post.

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