The End of China’s Onerous Hukou System…

The announcement on July 30 that China will finally overhaul the hereditary household registration system, known as hukou, hopefully eases a system considered to be at the heart of China’s institutional and economic inequality. It won’t happen immediately and there is some concern on the part of critics that the State Council’s decision is more window dressing than real. It doesn’t do away with the registration system, merely changes it. Different types of hukou status are to be merged into a standard residency status applicable to all. But those moving to new areas still must apply for residency certificates that would enable them eventually to apply to change official locations. If officials in the new areas don’t allow migrants to register, the problem continues.

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