New house­hold reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

(xinx­inghu­jizhidu) The Third Ple­nary Ses­sion of the 18th Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee vowed to re­form the hukou (house­hold reg­is­tra­tion) sys­tem, and the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity said ear­lier this week it had al­ready drafted a road map for the pur­pose.

Huang Ming, vice-min­is­ter of pub­lic se­cu­rity, said the gov­ern­ment would es­tab­lish a new hukou sys­tem by 2020, for which it has to re­move the vested in­ter­ests as­so­ci­ated with the cur­rent hukou sys­tem.

The re­form will fo­cus mainly on three as­pects: grad­u­ally es­tab­lish­ing a sys­tem that treats ur­ban and ru­ral res­i­dents equally and pro­motes the in­te­gra­tion of ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas; boost­ing pub­lic ser­vice based on peo­ple’s place of res­i­dence; and build­ing a ba­sic in­for­ma­tion data­base that supports so­cial mo­bil­ity and cross-re­gional man­age­ment.

Huang said this round of re­forms is aimed at help­ing mi­grant work­ers get le­gal reg­is­tra­tion in cities and at­tract­ing more peo­ple to ur­ban ar­eas. It will, how­ever, be a big chal­lenge to pro­vide the coun­try’s 160 mil­lion mi­grant work­ers with the same pub­lic ser­vices, in­clud­ing ed­u­ca­tion, med­i­cal treat­ment and so­cial se­cu­rity, that ur­ban res­i­dents get.

The hukou sys­tem was im­ple­mented in 1958 to pre­vent ru­ral res­i­dents from flock­ing to cities in search of food and lieveli­hood and to bar ur­ban res­i­dents from usurp­ing farm­ers’ land. But that was a dif­fer­ent time, a time of scarcity. Since there is no such fear to­day, the hukou sys­tem needs to be changed. In fact, some lo­cal gov­ern­ments have al­ready ini­ti­ated par­tial re­forms in the sys­tem.

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