Following the announcement at the Third Plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, the target date set for hukou reform is the year 2020. The announcement was made by Huang Ming, vice-minister of public security on China Central Television on Tuesday.
The reforms will see the restrictions on the urban hukou being relaxed, with pension, education and healthcare services eventually extended to qualify to all residents, both urban and rural. Also it will become easier for people to transfer their hukou to their place of work and residence instead of their place of birth. The statement promises to remove hukou from small towns and cities completely, in what is believed to be a push towards the urbanization of China. The hukou in mid-tier cities with also be slowly phased out. It will only remain it larger cities like Beijing to help control large scale immigration, which heavily effects the cities‘ infrastructure.
There have been words of caution against the reforms, some saying that people shouldn’t be forced to change their hukou, as changing to an urban one for those who previously holding a rural one may meant forfeiting owning plots of land. Also Yi Peng a researcher from the China Center for Urban Development under the National Development and Reform Commission said that the reform would put great pressure on local governments as it will increase public expenses.
Yet, the government sees the reforms as a way to balance the development between rural and urban areas and to allow smaller-tier cities to develop.
Some local governments have already undertaken some form of hukou reform, for example in 2010 Guangdong introduced a scoring system, where migrants workers would qualify for urban household registration once their score reached a certain level. They accumulated points based on educational background, skill level, social security records and participation in charitable activities such as blood donation.
Overall the reforms hope to see a change in China whereby more people benefit from the country’s urban development.
image courtesy of Atlaslin on wikipedia commons