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Beijing unveils new guidelines on household registration

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    14:25, September 20, 2016

[File photo]

Beijing residents will no longer be classified as either rural or urban dwellers once the local government carries out further reform of its household registration system, the Beijing Municipal Government announced on Sept. 19 

According to the announcement, the city government will put an end to the dual-household registration system, which has categorized people into urban or rural residents since the 1950s. According to the former system, rural residents do not receive equal access to public services and social welfare in Beijing, such as medical treatment, education and government subsidies.

Currently, 30 provinces and municipalities have carried out reforms on their household registration systems, most of which have called for the removal of the distinction between urban and rural residents, Beijing News reported.

“There are obvious distinctions between urban and rural household registrations when it comes to social welfare. For instance, medical insurance in rural areas can only cover serious illnesses and in-patient costs, while urban residents can even get reimbursements for out-patient treatment,” said Lu Jiehua, a professor of demographics at Peking University, during an interview with Beijing News on Sept. 20.

Though the reform is being viewed by many experts as a bold change to reduce social disparities, some residents with rural household registrations are concerned that the adjustment of their household status may lead to economic losses.

According to Chinese law, urban land is owned by the State, while rural land is governed by collective ownership. Farmers use the land but have no right to sell or develop it. Due to intense demand and competition for land in metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai, rural household registrations could become highly valuable.

“The elimination of rural household registration doesn’t mean farmers must dispossess their land, but rather offers them a chance to live as equals of urban residents,” said Zhu Lijia, a public management professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, during an interview with Beijing News.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Wu Chengliang)

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