Yu Jianrong, a professor of rural affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, is to meet with the British ambassador after outsourced visa processing staff insisted on seeing his hukou household registration document. From Minnie Chan at the South China Morning Post:
[…] The incident comes amid growing calls to reform the system from inside and outside the government. Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun yesterday ordered local police chiefs, who handle routine hukou matters, to co-operate with other agencies in reforming the system, state television reported.
[…] “I demand that the British government stop requiring Chinese applicants to provide a hukou document, which is a discriminatory system created under the planned economic era of the last century and conflicts with today’s common international values,” Yu wrote in an open letter to the British government.
The hukou is not normally required for U.K. visas: Chan implies that the professor’s customarily “tattered” clothing may have prompted the additional demand. Yu also spoke to Global Times about the incident. From Zhang Wen:
“I’ll never provide my hukou, even if it’s at the cost of not being able to attend the conference in the UK. It’s my principle,” said Yu.
[…] “What made me even angrier is that when I said I would never show them the hukou, an agent standing at the next counter immediately told me that he could help me to get the visa without me providing it,” Yu said.
“It’s blackmail. The agent is obviously familiar with the embassy employees,” he said.
[…] Liu Guofu, an expert on immigration law from Beijing Institute of Technology said an embassy can ask for any supporting documentation it likes.
For more on China’s hukou system, see two recent conversations with Tom Miller, author of China’s Urban Billion, via CDT.