China ‘Hukou’ System Deemed Outdated as Way of Controlling Access to Services

The Washington Post looks at how the hukou system impacts people living in cities like who aren’t registered locally:

People who live in a such as Beijing but do not have a local hukou must travel to their home towns to get a license, apply for a passport or take the national university entrance exam. Parents and students say the last requirement is particularly onerous, especially if a student has to take the exam in a province that uses different textbooks.

Some here say the hukou system is outdated and unsuited to a modern economy that requires the free movement of . Others call it “China’s apartheid,” saying it has created a two-tiered system of haves and have-nots in all the major cities.

“You have a large number of rural migrants who already earn most of their income in the cities, who have been in the cities a long time, but do not have hukou-related benefits,” said Tao Ran, an economist at . “This system is very bad; it’s ridiculous.”

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