- Gordon Dumoulin
Ancient household registration under reform...
𝘈𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮...
Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province in central China is the first big city in China to wave the traditional hukou system. 户口 or Hukou is a system of household registration. Literally translated as “household origin”, the current hukou system has been in place since the 1950s and is location-tied (where one has been born) for certain social welfare benefits, including access to health care, education or the right to purchase property. A kind of family passport issued by the municipality.
Zhengzhou, Henan province in China
The system descends in part from ancient Chinese household registration systems. The hukou system also influenced similar public administration systems in neighboring East Asian countries, such as Japan (koseki) and Korea (hoju, until 2008).
The legacy of the Chinese hukou system can be traced back to ancient history. Two early models of the hukou system were the Xiangsui and Baojia systems. The Xiangsui system during the Western Zhou Dynasty (circa 11th-8th centuries BC) was used to categorize urban and rural land. The Baojia system, propagated by Lord Shang Yang (4th century BC), regulated accountability among groups of citizens: if one person violated rules, the whole group was responsible. This structure was later expanded upon during the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE) for the purposes of taxation, population control, and conscription.
Demographic developments in recent decades, especially younger generations moving from rural to urban areas have challenged the traditional Hukou system in China. Especially with respect to the rights of education, health care and property as these were tied to the place of the hukou registration.
In 2019, the Chinese government already relaxed hukou requirements for “small cities” with less than 3 million inhabitants to let rural people move to cities for work, education and better facilities. Last year #Jiangxi province with 46 million inhabitants also relaxed the hukou requirements. Other cities such as #Shanghai are offering university graduates hukou registration possibilities to keep the graduates in the city.
Jiangxi province in China
And now #Zhengzhou becomes the first major city, “new first tier city” with a population of 12 million to scrap the hukou requirements as a whole. Major reasons for lifting the hukou requirements are to attract young and talented people to the city and regulate the overextended real estate developments since 2015.
Looking at the rural-urban transformations in Chinese society, Zhengzhou will probably not be the last city to ease the hukou with further reforms in residency registration systems.
Source and read more in Zhengzhou Becomes First Big City to Scrap ‘Hukou’ Restrictions by Sixth Tone.