Shang­hai should not let other cities ap­pro­pri­ate our tal­ents

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE - By Xie Jun

There’s a lot of con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the re­cent news that the Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment will al­low grad­u­ates from Pek­ing Univer­sity and Ts­inghua Univer­sity to di­rectly ob­tain a per­ma­nent house­hold regis­tra­tion, also known as hukou, in Shang­hai, some­thing which is not easy to get for non­lo­cals if they do not have a Shang­hainese spouse.

I read many web com­ments on this is­sue, and it seems ne­ti­zens dis­like Shang­hai’s par­tial­ity to­ward Pek­ing and Ts­inghua grad­u­ates, as they say it’s a kind of “ed­u­ca­tion dis­crim­i­na­tion” against stu­dents from smaller but less-well­known Chi­nese col­leges, many of whom are as com­pe­tent as those grad­u­at­ing from the afore­men­tioned two uni­ver­si­ties.

As a Shang­hai na­tive as well as a grad­u­ate from the Pek­ing Univer­sity, though, I would say Shang­hai did a good job this time... as long as this is not their only ef­fort to at­tract non­lo­cal tal­ents to the city.

Af­ter I grad­u­ated, I worked in both Shang­hai and Bei­jing, and I’ve seen many of my univer­sity class­mates also jump­ing from one city to an­other over the past sev­eral years. Get­ting a hukou is an im­por­tant stim­u­lus, if not the de­ci­sive rea­son, be­hind a per­son’s choice of which city to set­tle down.

About half of my depart­ment class­mates from Pek­ing Univer­sity chose to work in State-owned en­ter­prises, State-run me­dia agen­cies or pow­er­ful multi­na­tion­als af­ter they grad­u­ated. It might be “un­fair,” but they all man­aged to get a Bei­jing hukou shortly af­ter­ward with help of those com­pa­nies.

Later, many got mar­ried and the ma­jor­ity of them are still liv­ing in Bei­jing, with no signs of leav­ing de­spite their ran­dom com­plaints about the cap­i­tal’s con­gested trans­porta­tion. But for those who worked at smaller or pri­vate com­pa­nies af­ter grad­u­a­tion, things are much dif­fer­ent.

I, for ex­am­ple, went to work for a pri­vate mag­a­zine in Bei­jing af­ter grad­u­a­tion. The com­pany didn’t of­fer a “hukou quota” for its em­ploy­ees, so I was never legally al­lowed to be­come a Bei­jing na­tive. I think it’s one of the rea­sons why I and many of my col­leagues left Bei­jing – it’s just too hard to set­tle down and too easy to leave. With this in mind, the Shang­hai gov­ern­ment ought to open more chan­nels for non­lo­cal tal­ents who are think­ing about set­tling in the city. Why should Shang­hai sit idle as other cities are try­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble method – hous­ing sub­si­dies, hukou, big­ger salaries – to con­vince tal­ents to move there?

For grad­u­ates who are strug­gling to find their place in this bustling so­ci­ety, a hukou per­mis­sion is not only a friendly ges­ture from our lo­cal gov­ern­ment, and a com­pli­ment of their past ef­forts, it’s also what will make them de­cide to work and live in a cer­tain place.

In the past, Shang­hai has been very strict about grant­ing house­hold regis­tra­tion for non­lo­cals. Now they can start with the “pol­icy green light” for top univer­sity stu­dents and then grad­u­ally widen the pol­icy to other sec­tors.

As a na­tive Shang­hainese, I hope peo­ple with dif­fer­ent tal­ents, not only those with high ed­u­ca­tion but those with won­der­ful and nec­es­sary skills like cooks or park de­sign­ers, can all come and live in Shang­hai. In a word, Shang­hai should be a per­ma­nent home to those who can con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to our city.

The opin­ions ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are the au­thor’s own and do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect the views of the Global Times.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Chen Xia/GT

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