Addressing China's Social Inequality Through Hukou Reform

Feb 11, 2011 | 13:12 GMT

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China's Chongqing municipality launched a program in August 2010 to reform hukou, the permanent residency identification system. The system divided rural and urban hukou holders, with the latter receiving greater social benefits, leading to a disparity in living standards and hurdles to economic reform. The hukou reform effort aims to reduce disparities while managing migration to urban centers. Some city governments have attempted to pay for the higher social spending by requiring rural hukou holders to forfeit their ownership interests in rural land in exchange for urban hukou status, but this has become problematic as land values rise.

China’s planned economy created a disparity between rural and urban standards of living, and Beijing sees the solution in reforming the hukou system....

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