China Lays Out Rules Granting City Residents ‘Basic’ Services

  • Citizens who reside longer than six months get resident permit
  • Local authority should offer access to education, housing fund

China’s central government ordered that “basic” public services be guaranteed to resident-permit holders, which may help millions of the nation’s migrant population get access to better medical care and education.

Local governments will have to provide education, social insurance and public-housing funds as well as processing passports and auto registrations under rules from the State Council ordered by Premier Li Keqiang and published Saturday on the central government’s website.

The regulations, which go into effect on Jan. 1, will “promote healthy urbanization,” ensure the legal rights of citizens and “promote fairness and justice,” according to the statement. Chinese who have resided for more than six months away from the home where they are registered will be allowed to apply for resident permits, according to the rules.

The changes are part of an overhaul of the nation’s household registration, or “hukou,” system set out last year. The system, which was introduced in the 1950s, provides access to services and social welfare based on a person’s residential status, leaving many who have flocked to China’s coastal regions in the past three decades without the rights of those born in the cities.

Beijing announced Thursday that it plans set up a points system to allow the city’s migrant population to claim permanent residency permits if they meet certain criteria.

— With assistance by Gregory Turk

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