From China Daily:
When Du Yumeng was born in December 2005, she was probably not aware that she had been classified into a different category from other babies – a category which includes people toting wheelbarrows of fresh fruit, selling steamed buns from a corner booth or peddling phone cards. They all share one thing in common – a rural ‘hukou‘, or household registration.
Set up in 1958 in order to control mass urbanization, China’s hukou system effectively divides the population in two – ‘the haves’ (urban households) and ‘the have not’s’ (rural households).
Under the system, rural citizens have little access to social welfare in cities and are restricted from receiving public services such as education, medical care, housing and employment, regardless of how long they may have lived or worked in the city. [Full text]