Lowering hukou rules significant to reform, opening-up

By Xu Hailin Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/11 20:33:40

China has a flow of people greater than that of any other country in the world. People are seeking a better life by leaving their relatively underdeveloped hometown for urban areas. The most important aspect of such a flow is equal basic rights for urban and rural citizens. 

China's system of hukou, or household registration, has set limits on migrant people enjoying these rights due to finite public resources in their resident cities. This has led to various problems, but China is on the right track by taking them seriously. 

Flow of workforce has been an impetus to China's economic development since the country's reform and opening-up. It was also a factor in the miracle of Shenzhen, dubbed China's Silicon Valley, whose GDP surpassed that of Hong Kong in 2018.

China is facing challenges of an aging population and dwindling population dividend, and the new household registration policy - lowering the threshold in cities with less than 5 million residents, which means hundreds of cities rather than slightly more than a dozen in China, would generate a "new population dividend." 

We should applaud the reform as it could be conducive to China's economic transition.

Hukou is a crucial document for every Chinese, which entitles them access to public resources like healthcare and public education. Without household registration in resident cities, migrant people's children cannot get enrolled in local public schools for better education than in their relatively backward hometown. This situation does no good to China and it could worsen as more than 115 million post-1980s generation people have participated in the migrant flow in the past dozen years.

On this aspect, the restricted access to public resources could make migrant people feel like outsiders in the cities where they reside, although they have also contributed to the development of those places. Guaranteeing working people's equal rights will help eliminate such sentiment, and thus promote the sustainable economic development in the coming decades. 

The new hukou policy is also conducive to urbanization. The move will attract more people to cities and accelerate the flow of people. More people means more talent as well as greater demand for goods and services. This will then stimulate not only the growth of primary and secondary industries but also an upgrade in the services industry. 

Given the government's decision, we can see why China is sticking to the reform and opening-up policy domestically and internationally. The Chinese people are the basis for and closely linked to China's opening-up. China is taking an important step toward the right direction. 

Established in 1958, the system of hukou has been a concern of society since China's reform and opening-up began and one of the most important social issues. This step is significant for deepening reforms and conducive for the country to develop in a fairer, more reasonable and balanced way.
Newspaper headline: Lowering hukou rules significant to reform, opening-up


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