Hukou reform possibility

20 Aug

The hukou is one of China’s most well-known social systems, though not for positive reasons. It’s a household registration system which basically means a person is linked with his/her hometown (which is usually where one is born, though not always). It’s a major part of every citizen’s identification since it affects where they can legally live, work, and use the health facilities and education. Taiwan also has the hukou though it’s not as restrictive. Hukou restrictions mean many migrant workers who flock to wealthier cities like Beijing and Shanghai can’t change their hukous and thus, use the local social services like health insurance or schooling for their children. Hukou reform is something that’s really important and it was recently proposed by some top scholars. The main reason for a reluctance to reform the hukou is likely, the possible increase in social welfare costs incurred by major cities when more people move to live there, which is something many local residents may not support. However, at least one study (mentioned in the article) shows that costs would not be so high as previously feared and will be manageable. Here’s hoping something comes of it in the near future.

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