Premier: China to steadily advance reform of household registration system

08:26, December 28, 2009      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Sunday the country would steadily reform its decades-long household registration system, in a bid to ensure migrant workers to have equal rights as city dwellers.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (L) smiles during an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency at Ziguangge building inside Zhongnanhai, an office compound of the Chinese central authorities at the heart of Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 27, 2009. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Such policies are also key to speeding up urbanization and boosting domestic consumption, Wen said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency.

Specific measures were still being studied, but the government had figured out two priorities, said Wen.

"Farmer-turned workers who have been living in cities with a stable income are a priority," Wen said.

"The government will create policies to encourage migrant workers to settle down in small and medium-sized towns and cities, as big cities have limited capacities," Wen said.

Started in the 1950s, the household registration system categorizes Chinese citizens into urbanites and non-urbanites and has prevented rural residents from migrating freely to cities.

Chinese migrant workers have made great contributions, and even "sacrifices", to the country's development over the past few years, Wen said.

Wen said he had a lot of compassion for migrant workers. He mentioned he received a letter a few days ago from a migrant worker named Xiong Deming in Chongqing Municipality, who once got her wages back with Wen's help in 2003.

"The government has started studying the deep-seated issues concerning migrant workers," Wen said.

The two-hour interview was held at Ziguangge building inside Zhongnanhai, an office compound of the central authorities at the heart of Beijing.

Source: Xinhua
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