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The Hukou System and Rural-Urban Migration in China: Processes and Changes*

Abstract

Until recently, few people in mainland China would dispute the significance of the hukou (household registration) system in affecting their lives – indeed, in determining their fates. At the macro level, the centrality of this system has led some to argue that the industrialization strategy and the hukou system were the crucial organic parts of the Maoist model: the strategy could not have been implemented without the system. A number of China scholars in the West, notably Christiansen, Chan, Cheng and Seiden, Solinger, and Mallee, have begun in recent years to study this important subject in relation to population mobility and its social and economic ramifications. Unlike population registration systems in many other countries, the Chinese system was designed not merely to provide population statistics and identify personal status, but also directly to regulate population distribution and serve many other important objectives desired by the state. In fact, the hukou system is one of the major tools of social control employed by the state. Its functions go far beyond simply controlling population mobility.

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1. Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control – the household registration (hukou) system in contemporary China,” doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1991, pp. 292–93.

2. For some revealing stories on this subject, see Xianliang Ren et al. , “China's ‘registration taboo’,” translated in Chinese Sociology & Anthropology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (1996), pp. 1526.

3. Cheng has used the term “hukou-centered strategy” to describe the Chinese approach. See Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control.” Similar arguments are found in Chan Kam Wing, “Economic growth strategy and urbanization policies in China, 1949–82,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1992), pp. 275305.

4. Christiansen Flemming, “Social division and peasant mobility in mainland China: the implications of hu-k'ou system,” Issues and Studies, Vol. 26, No. 4 (1990), pp. 7891; Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls: Reinterpreting Urbanization in Post-1949 China (Hong Kong: Oxford University Press, 1994); Cheng Tiejun and Seiden Mark, “The origins and social consequences of China's hukou system,” The China Quarterly, No. 139 (1994), pp. 644668; Solinger Dorothy, “The floating population in the cities: chances for assimilation?” in Davis Deborah et al. (eds.), Urban Spaces: Autonomy and Community in Contemporary China (Cambridge: Woodrow Wilson Center Press and Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 113139; Mallee Hein, “China's household registration system under reform,” Development and Change, Vol. 26 (1995), pp. 129, and “Reform of the hukou system,” Chinese Sociology and Anthropology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (1996), pp. 314.

5. For example, there is some mention of nongzhuanfei in Cheng and Seiden , “The origins and social consequences of China's hukou system,” and Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls.

6. Ministry of Public Security, Chengshi hukou guanli zanxing tiaoli (Interim Regulations on Urban Household Administration), issued on 16 07 1951. Also see Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 16 07 1951.

7. Ministry of Internal Affairs, “Hukou dengji zanxing banfa (caoan)” (“Provisional measures for hukou registration (draft)”), in Teaching and Research Unit of Civil Law, Chinese People's University (ed.), Zhonghua renmin gongheguo minfa cankao ziliao (Reference Materials on the Civil Law of the People's Republic of China), Vol. I (Beijing: China People's University, 1956), pp. 146–49. See also State Council, Guanyu jianli jingchang hukou dengji zhidu de zhishi (Directive Concerning the Establishment of the Regular Household Registration System), issued on 22 06 1955.

8. A detailed examination of the 1950s is in Cheng and Seiden, “The origins and social consequences of China's hukou system.”

9. These provisions were taken out when the Constitution was next revised in 1975.

10. Decree of the President of the People's Republic of China, Zhonghua renmin gongheguo hukou dengji tiaoli (Regulations on Household Registration in the People's Republic of China), 9 01 1958. See Ministry of Public Security (ed.), Zhonghua renmin gongheguo gongan fagui huibian 1957–1993 (Compilations of PRC Public Security Regulations (1957–1993)) (Beijing: China People's Public Security University Press, 1994).

11. Cheng and Selden, “The origins and social consequences of China's hukou system,” p. 664; Chan Kam Wing, “Rural-urban migration in China, 1950–1982: estimates and analysis,” Urban Geography, Vol. 9, No. 1 (0102 1988), pp. 5384.

12. White Lynn T., “Deviance, modernization, rations, and household register in urban China,” in Wilson Amy Auerbacher, Greenblatt Sidney Leonard and Wilson Richard Whittingham (eds.), Deviance and Social Control in Chinese Society (New York: Praeger, 1977), pp. 151172; Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls; Yifu Lin, Fang Cai and Zhou Li, Zhongguo de qiji: fazhan zhanlüe he jingji gaige (The China Miracle: Development Strategy and Economic Reform) (Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1994).

13. Dutton M. R., Policies and Punishment in China (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).

14. For detailed discussion of the official interpretation of the hukou system, see Qing Luo Rui (former Minister of Public Security), “Guanyu Zhonghua renmin gongheguo hukou dengji tiaoli caoan de shuoming” (“Explaining the interim regulations on household registration in the People's Republic of China”), Renmin ribao, 9 01 1958. Also see Qingwu Zhang, “Basic facts on the household registration system,” Chinese Economic Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1 (1988).

15. Sing Too Daily, 4 03 1995, p. A5, and 14 05 1995, p. A4.

16. With the introduction of a nation-wide state monopoly and rationing system for grain in 1955, citizens living in the urban areas and engaged in non-agricultural activities at that time were classified as non-agricultural (feinongye) hukou population; others as agricultural (nongye) hukou population. The non-agricultural hukou population was entitled to state-subsidized but rationed grain supply. See State Council, Guanyu shizhen liangshi dingliang gongying zanxing banfa (Interim Measures for Rationed Supply of Grain in Cities and Towns), issued on 25 August 1955. From 1963, the Ministry of Public Security classified all those qualified for subsidized grain supply as “non-agricultural” households (feinongye hukou) and those not qualified as “agricultural” households, regardless of their actual occupation and residence. For example, many state farm workers in the rural areas carried a non-agricultural classification. See also Chan Kam Wing and Tsui Kai Yuen, “Agricultural and “Non-agriculturalPopulation Statistics of the People's Republic of China: Definitions, Findings and Comparisons, Occasional Paper No. 1, Department of Geography and Geology, University of Hong Kong, 1992.

17. This was a major source of confusion of “urban” population definitions. See Chan Kam Wing and Xu Xueqiang, “Urban population growth and urbanization in China since 1949: reconstructing a baseline,” The China Quarterly, No. 104 (1985), pp. 583613.

18. Ibid.; Ma Laurence and Cui Gonghao, “Administrative changes and urban population in China,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 77, No. 3 (1987), pp. 375395; Chan and Tsui , “Agricultural” and “Non-agricultural” Population Statistics; Chan Kam Wing, “Urbanization and rural-urban migration in China since 1982: a new baseline,” Modern China, Vol. 20, No. 3 (1994), pp. 243281; Wu Harry Xiaoying, “Rural to urban migration in the People's Republic of China,” The China Quarterly, No. 139 (1994), pp. 669698; Zhang Li and Zhao Simon Xiaobin, “Reexamining China's ‘urban’ concept and the level of urbanization,” The China Quarterly, No. 154 (06 1998), pp. 331381.

19. Potter Sulamith Heins, “The position of peasants in Modern China's social order,” Modern China, Vol. 9 No. 4, (1983), pp. 465499.

20. According to Regulations on Household Registration, in cases both of moving out and moving in, one usually needs to apply for a permit to move (zhunqian zheng) and a migration certificate (qianyi zheng) issued by the police in the destination and the origination respectively. There are different requirements for applying for a permit to move and a migration certificate to urban areas, depending on the situation. Those recruited by the state or admitted by institutes of higher education are automatically entitled to migration papers if such recruitment or admission requires relocation (see also Appendix 2). Those who move for personal reasons must satisfy the principles and requirements set out by the Ministry of Public Security in order to obtain migratory documents (see Appendix 1). Lynn T. White offers more detailed information on how to apply for Shanghai's household registration, one of the three top cities where inmigration has been strictly controlled up to now. See “Migration and politics on the Shanghai Delta,” Issues and Studies, Vol. 30, No. 9 (1994), pp. 6395.

21. In the case of migration from rural settlements to city suburbs, nongzhuanfei is not required. However, since 1964 the agricultural hukou population in cities and towns (the majority of them reside in “suburban districts”) is not officially treated as urban population in many cases. See Chan and Xu , “Urban population growth and urbanization.”

22. For reasons to control formal rural-urban migration, which was a result of nongzhuanfei, see Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls, ch. 3.

23. In the U.S. system the criteria for determining eligibility are publicly known. There is also a waiting list based on the date on which the application is processed. This is not the Chinese case where processing of applications works entirely in a “black box.” The precise criteria for eligibility are often not made public. Such practices have given rise to many opportunities for corruption.

24. See Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu chuli hukou qianyi wenti de tongzhi (Circular Concerning the Regulations of Transfer of Hukou Registration), issued on 17 04 1962; Minister of Public Security, Guanyu jiaqiang hukou guanti gongzuo de yijian (Suggestions Concerning the Reinforcement of Hukou Administration), issued on 8 12, 1962; Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu chuli hukou qianyi de guiding (The Regulations of Transfer of Hukou Registration), issued on 8 11 1977; Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu yinfa “guanyu hukou qianyi de wenti jieda” de tongzhi (Circular on Circulating MPS's Questions and Answers Concerning the Hukou Migration), issued on 15 09 1978; Guangren Liu (ed.), Hukou guanti xue (Study of Hukou Registration Administration) (Beijing: China Procuratorial Press, 1992).

25. Wenhui bao, 14 02 1989.

26. Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Judicature, Guanyu laodong jiaoyang he quxiao laojiao renyuan chengshi hukou wenti de tongzhi (Circular Concerning Re-education Through Labour and Cancellation of Urban Hukou of Reform-Through-Labour Persons), issued on 26 March 1984. Examples can be found in Dutton , Policies and Punishment in China.

27. See State Council, Guanyu nongcun hukou dengji, tongji gongzuo he guoji gongzuo yigui gongan humen jieban de tongzhi (Circular Concerning Ministry of Public Security Taking Over Rural Household Registration, Statistics and Naturalization), issued on 13 01 1956.

28. See Ministry of Public Security, Circular Concerning the Regulations of Transfer of Hukou Registration; Ministry of Public Security, Suggestions Concerning the Reinforcement of Hukou Administration.

29. See Ministry of Public Security, The Regulations on Transfer of Hukou Registration; Ministry of Public Security, Circular on MPS's Circulating Questions and Answers Concerning the Transfer of Hukou.

30. The Beijing survey was cited in Guangren Liu (ed.), Study of Hukou Registration Administration, p. 284. Examples of other cities can be found in Yang Suiquan, Zhongguo renkou falü zhidu yanjiu (Study of China's Population Law System) (Beijing: Law Publishing Press, 1995).

31. Cheng and Seiden , “The origins and social consequences of China's hukou system.”

32. See, for example, Chan and Xu , “Urban population growth and urbanization.”

33. See Chan Kam Wing, “Post-Mao China: a two-class urban society in making,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1996), pp. 134150; Mingmin Shen, “Zhongguo eryuan jiegou yu eryuan shehui tizhi fenxi” (“An analysis of the dual economic system and dual social system in China”), Hong Kong Journal of Social Science, No. 9 (Spring 1997), pp. 85113.

34. See Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control,” ch. 5.

35. See a more detailed treatment in Chan Kam Wing, “Internal migration in China: a dualistic approach,” in Pieke Frank and Malice Hein (eds.), Internal and International Migration: Chinese Perspectives (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1999), pp. 4971.

36. Solinger Dorothy, “‘Temporary residence certificate’ regulations in Wuhan, May 1983,” The China Quarterly, No. 101 (1985), pp. 98103.

37. Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu “changzhu renkou dengji biao” de shiyong guiding (Stipulations for Use of the Registration Form for Regular Residents), issued on 14 03 1985; Ministry of Public Security, Chengzhen zanzhu renkou guanli de zanxing guiding (Provisional Regulations on the Administration of Temporary Urban Population), issued on 13 07 1985.

38. ibid. and Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls.

39. See Ministry of Public Security, Zanzhu zheng shenling banfa (Procedures for the Application of Temporary Residence Certificate), issued on 19 05 1995.

40. Shenzhen People's Congress, Shenzhen jingji tequ zanzhu renyuan hukou guanli tiaoli (Regulations on Administration of Temporary Population in Shenzhen Special Economic Zone), issued on 15 09 1995.

41. Solinger Dorothy, Contesting Citizenship in Urban China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), ch. 3.

42. Renmin ribao, 9 07 1995, p. A1. The registered figure wassmallerin 1997. According to the MPS, there were 38 million registered temporary population in 1997. See Bureau of Population Registration and Administration of Ministry of Public Security, 1997 quanguo zanzhu renkou tongji ziliao huibian (Compilation of National Temporary Population Statistics in 1997) (Beijing: China People's Public Security University Press, 1997).

43. According to a 1996 survey, 79% of migrant workers neglected to register with the MPS. See Gilley Bruce, “Migrant workers play a key role,” in Ching Frank (ed.), China in Transition (Hong Kong: Review Publishing Co., 1997), pp. 8592.

44. Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu jiaqiang he gaige gongan gongzuo de ruogan wenti (Several Questions Regarding Strengthening and Reforming Public Security Work), issued in 05 1983.

45. Ministry of Public Security, Zhonghua renmin gangheguojumin shenfenzheng shixing tiaoli (Interim Regulations on the PRC Citizen Identity Card), issued on 7 05 1984.

46. National People's Congress, Zhonghua renmin gongheguo jumin shenfenzheng tiaoli (Regulations on PRC Citizen Identity Card), issued on 6 09 1985.

47. Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu zhifa linshi shenfenzheng youguan wenti de tongzhi (Circular on Issues of Issuance of Temporary Citizen Identity Card), issued on 12 09 1989; Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu linshi shenfenzheng guanti zanxing guiding (Interim Regulations on the Administration of Temporary Citizen Identity Card), issued on 15 10 1989.

48. Solinger , Contesting Citizenship in Urban China.

49. Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu shiyong weijisuanji guanti renkou jiben xinxi de tongzhi (Circular on Using Micro-Computers to Administer Population Information), issued on 5 11 1986; Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu shiyong jisuanji tianxie hukou qianyizheng de tongzhi (Circular on Testing Use of Computers to Fill In the Certificate of Hukou Transfer), issued 21 07 1992.

50. Feng Wang, “The breakdown of a great wall: recent changes in the household registration system of China,” in Scharping Thomas (ed.), Floating Population and Migration in China: The Impact of Economic Reform (Hamburg: Mitteilungen Des Instituts für Asienkunde, No. 284, 1997), p. 158.

51. State Council, Pizhuan guowuyuan renkou pucha lingdao xiaozu, gonganbu guanyu zai quanguo disanci renkou puchaqian renzhenjinxing zhengdun hukou gongzuo de baogao de tongzhi (Circular on Ratifying and Transmitting the Report Submitted by Leading Group of Population Census of the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security Concerning the Rectification of Hukou Registration Before the Third National Population Census), issued on 31 October 1980; State Council, Pizhuan guowuyuan renkou pucha lingdao xiaozu, gonganbu guanyu zai quanguo disici renkou puchaqian jinxing zhengdun hukou gongzuo de baogao de tongzhi (Circular for Ratifying and Circulating the Report Submitted by Leading Group of Population Census of the State Council and the Ministry of Public Security Concerning the Rectification of Hukou Registration before the Fourth National Population Census), issued on 8 December 1989.

52. Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control,” pp. 273–77.

53. See Zhijing Yin and Qihong Yu, Zhongguo hujizhidu gaige (Reform of Chinese Hukou System) (Beijing: Zhongguo zhengfa daxue chubanshe, 1996), p. 65.

54. The figures are computed from Population Research Institute, Chinese Academy Social Science, Zhongguo renkou nianjian 1996 (Almanac of China's Population 1996) (Beijing: Zhongguo minhang chubanshe, 1997), p. 308. These figures include the natural increase of non-agricultural hukou population. See also Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu zhuanfabufen shengshi hukou nongzhuanfei gongzuo zuotanhui jiyaode tongzhi (On Circulating the Minutes of the Working Meeting Concerning Hukou Transfer from Agricultural to Non-agricultural Status in Some Provinces and Cities), issued on 4 05 1991.

55. The following documents stipulate the conditions to get market towns hukou: State Council, Guanyu nongmin jinru jizhen luohu wenn de tongzhi (Directive Concerning Issues of Peasants Settling Down in Market Towns), issued on 13 10 1984; Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu guanche shishiguowuyuan guanyu nongminjinrujizhen luohu wenti de tongzhide tongzhi (Circular for Implementing the State Council's Directive Concerning Issues of Peasants Settling Down in Market Towns), issued on 3 11 1984; Labour Planning Bureau of Ministry of Labour and Personnel, Guanyu pizhun dao jizhen wugong, jingshang, banfuwuye de nongmin hejiashu luohukou de laodongli ziyuan guanti deng wenti de fuhan (Reply Concerning the Administration of Peasant Labourers and Their Family Members Who Are Permitted to Settle Down in Market Towns and involved in Non-agricultural Activities), issued on 6 December 1984. For an academic discussion on this policy, see Malice Hein, “Reforming the hukou system: the experiment with the ‘urban registration with self-supplied grain’,” in Lisheng Dong (ed.), Administrative Reform in the People's Republic of China Since 1978 (Leiden: International Institute for Asian Studies, Working Paper Series I, 1994), pp. 100120.

56. A survey of towns in Shanghai suburban counties reveals that most of the employed had worked in enterprises for a number of years and were originally from the local areas. It does not appear that this zili hukou was open to all rural migrant workers. See Zhu Baoshu “Nongcun renkou xiang xiao chengzhen zhuanyi de xin dongtai he xin wenti” (“New Situation and new problems concerning rural population migrating to small towns”), Zhongguo renkou kexue, No. 1, (1991), pp. 4955.

57. Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu zili kouliang hukou renyuan nongzhuanfei banli huliang guanxi youguan wenti de tongzhi (Circular on Procedures of Non-agricultural Hukou Transfer and Grain Supply for Those Who “Self-supply” Their Grain), issued on 13 05 1991.

58. Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control,” p. 295–96.

59. Ibid. p.294.

60. Chunbin Liu, “Chengxiang shisi zhong zhidu genzong tiaocha” (“A follow-up study of 14 urban-rural institutions”), Jingji yanjiu cankao, No. 118/119, 1 08 1996, pp. 23. Also according to a report from Renmin ribao, in the first half of July 1992, Henan province sold more than 40,000 urban hukou books, with sale prices ranging from 6,000 to 30,000 yuan per book. See qingkuang huibian (case compilation), no. 471, Renmin ribao, 7 07 1992. It is widely documented that before 1992 many small cities and towns had “sold” urban hukou to outsiders. See Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control,” pp. 306307. Guangdong in 1988 issued a regulation granting new urban hukou status to in-migrants whose overseas relatives bought property of certain value in foreign currency in towns and cities in the province and who paid a large sum of “urban infrastructure” fees. See Wenhui bao, 25 02 1988, p. 1

61. Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu shixing dangdi youxiao chengzhen jumin hukou zhidu de tongthi (Circular on Implementation of Locally-Valid Urban Hukou Registration), issued in 08 1992.

62. Solinger , Contesting Citizenship in Urban China, ch. 3.

63. Ministry of Public Security, Circular on Implementation of Locally-valid Urban Hukou Registration. See also Yin Zhijing and Yu Qihong, Reform of Chinese Hukou System.

64. See Xin and Yu , Reform of Chinese Hukou System. See also Guangzhou Daily, 19 02 1998.

65. Jun Han, “Breaking the rural-urban separation,” Shidian (Viewpoint), 8 06 1994, p. 6.

66. See Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control,” p. 307; Guangzhou Daily, 19 02 1998.

67. See Guangdong Province Government, Pizhuan sheng gonganting guanyu fangkuan he gaige hukou qianyi zhengce baogao de tongzhi (Circular on Approving and Circulating the Report Presented by Public Security Bureau on Relaxing Control and Reforming of Hukou Transfer Policy), issued in 10 1992; Shanghai Municipality Government, Shanghaishi lanyin hukou guanti zanxing guiding (Interim Stipulations of Application of “Blue-Stamp” Hukou in Shanghai Municipality), issued on 23 12 1993; Shenzhen Municipality Government, Shenzhenshi huji zhidu gaige zanxing guiding (Interim Stipulations for Reforming the Household Registration System), issued on 24 11 1995.

68. Shanghai Municipality Government, Interim Stipulations for Application of “Blue-Stamp” Hukou in Shanghai Municipality; Shenzhen Municipality Government, Interim Stipulations for Reforming the Household Registration System.

69. Yangcheng wanbao, 25 10 1998 (electronic edition, http://www.ycwb.com.cn).

70. Sing Tao Daily, 8 02 1994.

71. See General Office of State Council, Guanyu zhizhi yixie shixian gongkai chumai chengzhen hukou de tongzhi (Circularon Stopping the Overt Sale of Urban Hukou in Certain Cities and Counties), issued on 29 10 1988; Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu jianjue zhizhi gongkai chumai feinongye hukou cuowu zuofa de jinji tongzhi (Urgent Circular on Resolutely Stopping the Overt Sale of Non-agricultural Hukou), issued on 4 05 1992; Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Finance and The People's Bank of China, Guanyu jianjue zhizhi jixu chumai feinongye hukou de tongzhi (Circular on Stopping the Continued Sale of Non-agricultural Hukou), issued on 2 08 1994.

72. Beijing Municipality Government, Zhengsou chengshi rongnafei tiaoli (Regulations on Levying Fees of Urban Infrastructure Construction), issued on 8 09 1994; Shenzhen Municipality Government, Interim Stipulations for Reforming Household Registration System.

73. Ministry of Public Security, Xiaochengzhen huji guanli zhidu gaige shidian fang'an (Pilot Schemes for Reforming Hukou Administration System in Small Towns), proposed on 20 05 1997 and approved by State Council on 11 June 1997. Also see China Daily, 16 08 1997.

74. Dorothy Solinger predicted these outcomes in her earlier studies. See Solinger , China's Transients and the State: A Form of Civil Society, USC Seminar Series No. 1, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1991.

75. Xin and Yu , Reform of Chinese Hukou System, pp. 65 and 87.

76. Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls, Chan Kam Wing, “Post-Mao China: a two-class urban society in the making.”Feng Wang, “Invisible walls within cities: migration and the emergence of a dual society in urban China,” paper prepared for Conference on Social Consequences of Chinese Economic Reform, Harvard University, 23–24 05 1997.

77. Solinger , “The floating population in the cities.”

78. Indeed, even the members of a family (parents and children) are divided by different hukou categories. See Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control,” p. 302303. Also Yangcheng wanbao, 25 10 1998 (electronic edition, http://www.ycwb.com.cn).

79. See State Statistical Bureau, Guanyu yinfa gaige woguo nongye feinongye renkou huafen biaozhun de shixing fang'an de tongzhi (Circular on the Pilot Scheme of Reforming the Criteria for Classification of Agricultural and Non-agricultural Population), issued on 8 07 1988.

80. Feng Wang, “The breakdown of a great wall,” p. 159.

81. In fact, population data classified by agricultural and non-agricultural hukou status still continue to be reported in various recent official statistical yearbooks (1996 and 1997) such as the Population Statistical Yearbook published by the State Statistical Bureau and the Population Yearbook published by Population Research Institute, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

82. See Ministry of Public Security, Guanyu qiyong xinde changzhu renkou dengjibiao he juming hukouben youguan shixiang de tongzhi (Circular on Some Issues Relating to Usage of New Form of Regular Population Registration and Hukou Book), issued on 19 12 1995. Also, Sing Too Daily, 8 07 1997, p. A7.

83. Reporting this forthcoming change, South China Morning Post (International Weekly) proclaimed that “Registration system set to be abolished” (the title of an article) on 5 02 1994, p. 7; Ming bao (Hong Kong) carried an article on 21 June 1996 (p. A9) with a similar tone.

84. Those published in the 1980s are documented in Cheng Tiejun, “Dialectics of control.” More recent ones include Hongbin You, “Huji guanli zhidu gaige de fanglüe (”Schemes for reforming household registration system“), Demography and Family Planning, No.4 (1994), pp. 1517.Qingwu Zhang, “Hukou qianyi huhuan huji gaige (“Hukou transfer calls for the reform of hukou system,” Journal of Public Security University, No. 3 (1994). The most well-known critique is by Guo Shutian and Liu Chunbin, Shiheng de Zhongguo (An Unbalanced China) (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe, 1990).

85. Personal interview with the officials in the Ministry of Public Security, September 1997 and July 1998, Beijing. Also see Xin and Yu , Reform of Chinese Hukou System.

86. Ibid.

87. Sing Tao Daily, 11 07 1998, p. A6, and 7 11 1998, p. A6. See also State Council, Pizhuan gonganbu guanyujiejue dangqian hukou guanti gongzuo zhongjige tuchu wenn de yijian de tongzhi (Circular for Approving and Circulating the MPS's Proposal for Resolving Some Serious Problems in Current Hukou Administration), issued on 22 07 1998.

88. An example of an urban welfare programme can be found in Suzhou (see Sing Too Daily, 7 12 1998, p. B8). Before September 1997, outsiders could not purchase property in Beijing (see Guangzhou ribao, 10 09 1997, p. 1).

89. Chan Kam Wing, Cities With Invisible Walls; Feng Wang, “The breakdown of a great wall.”

90. Guo and Liu , An Unbalanced China.

* This is part of a larger project on migration in China. We would like to thank the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology of the University of Washington, and Hewlett Foundation, National Science Foundation under grant SBR-9618500, and Luce Foundation for their support. We also gratefully acknowledge many useful comments and suggestions by Mark Seiden and Dorothy Solinger and assistance with romanization by Wang Qingfang.

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