Reuters reports:China's new leaders are planning a system of national residence permits to
replace the household registration or 'hukou' regime, a government source said,
a vital reform that will boost its urbanization campaign and drive
The hukou system, which dates to 1958, has split China's 1.3 billion people
along urban-rural lines, preventing many of the roughly 800 million Chinese who
are registered as rural residents from settling in cities and enjoying basic
urban welfare and services.
Critics have called for changes for years and a government researcher told
Reuters a "unified national residence permit system" would be adopted as policy
as part of a 10-year urbanization plan to be published after the current annual
session of parliament.
Benefits and entitlement under the new system would be "basically equal", he
said, although the changes would be eased in slowly. He did not say how long it
"The trend is to dilute the urban-rural household registration divide", said
the researcher, who was briefed on the details but declined to be identified
because the plan has not yet been made public.