Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson
Chapter 4: China’s hukou system at 60: continuity and reform
This paper presents a retrospective analysis of China’s hukou (household registration) system on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of its promulgation, reviewing the history of that system from a broad socio-political perspective and highlighting the continuity and change. The paper focuses also on identifying many of its important ramifications for modern Chinese society, as well as on the impact of the hukou on the country’s industrialization, urbanization, and social and spatial stratification. The paper argues that despite all the reforms in the last four decades, the hukou system remains a major obstacle to China’s quest to become a modern, first-world nation and global leader. More forceful measures to change and gradually abolish the system are urgently needed.
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