China is reforming its household registration system to
gradually eliminate urban-rural division and bolster social
equality, according to sources attending a national conference on
public security on Thursday.
Twelve provincial areas, including Hebei, Liaoning, Shandong,
Guangxi and Chongqing, have launched trial reforms to stop the
differentiation between rural and urban residents.
Beijing, Shanghai and some cities in Guangdong Province have
loosened restrictions to make rural people change their
Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province is also making trial
reform on the household registration system, and the reform will be
spread across the province in 2007.
Set up in 1958, China's household registration, or hukou, system
divides the population into rural households and non-rural
households, and individual rights such as education, healthcare,
housing and employment are closely linked with household
Under the system, rural citizens have little access to the
social welfare in cities, although many have lived and worked in
cities for years. In the past decades, China has witnessed a mass
migration of rural labor to urban areas.
It is estimated that more than 120 million migrant rural workers
have moved to cities in search of work.
(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2007)