China to register unregistered citizens

Updated: 2015-12-09 21:19


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China to register unregistered citizens

Wu Zhicheng, a Beijing resident who has no hukou, checks a paper that may help him reinstate his household registration in January. Wu said he lost his hukou 43 years ago because of a mistake that occurred when the local police relocated it to his employer. [Photo by Wu Jiang/for China Daily]

BEIJING - China will provide unregistered citizens with household registration permits, a crucial document entitling them to social welfare, according to a high-level reform meeting.

In China, various social benefits such as medical insurance and access to basic education are based on permits known as "hukou" and are supposed to be in line with long-term places of work and residence.

"It is a basic legal right for the Chinese citizens to lawfully register for hukou. It's also a premise for citizens to participate in social affairs, enjoy rights and fulfill duties," said a statement released Wednesday after a meeting of the central leading group for comprehensively deepening reform.

The meeting was presided over by President Xi Jinping who heads the group.

China has around 13 million unregistered people, one percent of the entire population. They include orphans and "black children" (second children born illegally during the period of strict enforcement of the one-child policy), the homeless and those who have yet to apply for one or who have simply lost theirs. Those parents who violated family planning policy often refrained from getting hukou for their children in order to avoid fines.

Wednesday's meeting was told that registration should take place irrespective of family planning and other policy limits, and those without hukou who face difficulties in applying should see their problems solved.

"The number of people without hukou, their distribution and causes should be made clear... and every citizen's right to hukou should be protected in accordance with the law," the statement said.

It was stressed that hukou registration should be coordinated with family planning, adoption, aid for the homeless and nationality management.