Tag Archives: land use right

The end of the hukou system?

Goodburn, Charlotte (2014). The end of the hukou system? Not yet. China Policy Institute Policy Paper, 2. 7 p. Retrieved 9 September 2014 from: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cpi/documents/policy-papers/cpi-policy-paper-2014-no-2-goodburn.pdf?utm_content=bufferd01fe&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

The July 2014 Chinese State Council circular on the “end of the hukou (household registration) system” has been greeted by a mixture of jubilation and scepticism in the press. The abolition of the distinction between rural and urban Chinese citizens, which has existed since the 1950s, is historic, and may be of symbolic importance, but much of the rest of the policy announcement is neither new nor likely to benefit most current and prospective rural-urban migrants. Real hukou reform will be difficult and costly, and remains a long way off.

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Hukou reform: Beijing abolishes “agricultural” residence class, but rural-urban split remains. China Economic Review, 8 September 2014. Retrieved 9 Sptember 2014 from: http://www.chinaeconomicreview.com/hukou-reform-beijing-abolishes-agricultural-residence-class-rural-urban-split-remains

When China’s State Council announced in late July that it would end the official division of Chinese residents into rural and urban, it ended a practice that for almost six decades represented the worst of the country’s oft-decried residence permit, or hukou, system. When introduced in the late 50’s the restrictive policy bifurcated Chinese into an urban minority with government-provided benefits and a rural majority expected to feed both cities and itself.

Today over half of China’s population already lives in the cities. A blueprint for the country’s urbanization announced in March plans for 60% of the population to be urban by 2020, meaning another 100 million Chinese will move to cities. The plan also calls for 45% of the population to have urban hukou, meaning another 250 million once-rural residents will need to be registered in cities. This would theoretically entitle them to better benefits in areas such as health care and education.

The State Council provided general guidelines in its recent announcement on how the central government wants urbanization to proceed: few to no residency rules for those migrating to smaller cities, and increasingly stringent requirements as urban populations pass the 1 and 3 million marks. Cities with over 5 million people can use a “points” system to decide who is accorded residence, a practice already used by larger cities like Beijing that weeds out the vast majority of hukou hopefuls in favor of high-earning or highly educated applicants.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Land Use Rights, Market Transition, and Rural-urban Labor Migration in China (1980-84)

Chen, Yiu Por. (2012). Land Use Rights, Market Transition, and Rural-urban Labor Migration in China (1980-84). UC Los Angeles: The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment.

Online at: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3pk220mn#

This paper provides a systematic analysis of the way shifts in property utilization rights in China induced another sequence of institutional changes that led to the rise of rural-urban labor migration from 1980 to 1984, a critical period in the country’s market transition. I show that the 1980s’ Household Responsibility System (HRS), which brought family farming back from the communal system, endowed rural households not only with land use rights, but also with de facto labor allocation rights. These shifts in property relationspromoted a growth in agricultural market size as well as the emergence of intraprovincial non-hukou rural-urban migration, which may have made labor retention policies such as the small township strategy ineffective, and may have given the government an incentive to deregulate its subsequent labor market policy.


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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