Fu­ture per­fect?

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By DUJUAN

In Au­gust, the Beijing govern­ment pub­lished a new pol­icy that al­lows peo­ple who meet cer­tain cri­te­ria to ap­ply for hukou in the city.

The pol­icy, which will come into force on Jan 1, spec­i­fies that ap­pli­cants should be younger than 45 and they must have paid so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions for at least seven con­sec­u­tive years. Peo­ple with crim­i­nal records are barred from ap­ply­ing.

Ap­pli­cants are graded ac­cord­ing to points, which are awarded based on their age, level of ed­u­ca­tion and liv­ing stan­dard. How­ever, se­lect­ing thou­sands of “win­ners” from mil­lions of qual­i­fied can­di­dates is a dif­fi­cult task, es­pe­cially as it’s pos­si­ble that many ap­pli­cants will have ac­crued the same points tally.

“It’s a hope, even though it’s a very dim one,” said one young wo­man who pre­ferred not to be named. She meets all the qual­i­fi­ca­tions to ap­ply for Beijing hukou, but won’t bother to do so.

“I don’t think I will be able to get it. Just look at the num­ber of ap­pli­cants. The an­swer is so clear,” she said.

Given the city’s rapidly ris­ing pop­u­la­tion, limited re­sources mean sec­tors such as ed­u­ca­tion, health­care, trans­porta­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion face huge chal­lengestosat­is­fy­de­mand.

The sit­u­a­tion means that peo­ple who live in Beijing with­out hukou and have made a con­tri­bu­tion to the city’s devel­op­ment are de­nied equal ac­cess to pub­lic ser­vices, in­clud­ing med­i­cal care and ed­u­ca­tion for their chil­dren, and the right to buy prop­erty.

The govern­ment is work­ing cau­tiously to solve the prob­lems, but it will take time. As the anony­mous in­ter­vie­wee­p­ointed out, the so­lu­tion is ob­vi­ous: “As long as a per­son pays taxes, they should have equal ac­cess to pub­lic ser­vices wher­ever they are in the coun­try.”

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