In Search of Equality – Chen Wen

From The Beijing Review: China’s household registration system needs even-handed reforms to give rural migrants the same benefits as urban dwellers.

China first implemented the system of residence permits in the 1950s, also known as hukou, to specifically avoid extensive rural-to-urban migration, considered at the time a move that would hamper the nation’s development.

The system classified people into rural and urban residents. Residents with urban enjoyed social benefits such as quota of food, subsidized housing, social security, right to employment, education, medical care and retirement benefits, while those with rural had no access to such welfare.

Having an urban hukou and obvious benefits it brings have long been the dream of China’s large rural population. Now, it’s a dream that is gradually coming true as the country continues to develop its economy.

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