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Xinguanren project. 1.Xinguanren, or the New Donguanners

March 21, 2012

konjaku: Dongguan, the industrial city just south of Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta,  generated a certain amount of interest between 2004-to 2010 as a place which embodied the rapid expansion and heating up of the Chinese economy, based on cheap exports. Minimally skilled workers (sometimes underage) made long trips from impoverished areas, arriving to a city composed of factories and businesses that sprang up and disappeared overnight. In American newspapers, Dongguan was often the setting in articles about unsafe products produced for the American market (children’s toys, pet food), and oppressive labor practices. In her book Factory Girls, Leslie T Chang deftly shows that those who managed to achieve an initial, tentative success in Dongguan entered a newly emerging social world in which traditional hierarchies were inverted or simply non-existent, and it seemed possible to completely remake oneself, from a child of a struggling peasant family to a successful, urbanized businessperson.

Already Dongguan’s moment in history may have passed, as there is a perception that its position as a nexus combining cheap labor with a degree of technical know-how is being usurped by cheaper labor markets in other parts of Asia. By the end of 2011, Dongguan had become a place to go to find evidence of the contraction of the Chinese economy: less orders, less factories, less workers willing to take any low-paying job offered. What follows here is my own modest contribution to a social history of Dongguan as it existed in the recent past, before the slowdown. This is a part of a larger topic: how the floating population is faring, and how their migration to the cities for work is effecting civil society as a whole.

In reading an article about Dongguan several years ago, I came across a term not in the dictionary, xinguanren, literally “New –guan — person” (guan, as the second syllable of Dong-guan). I translate this word, somewhat awkwardly, as “New Dongguaner”. I did a search for xinguanren on the web, and found a newspaper article which explained its origin. This word had been created by a government committee to replace the previous official term which had come to be considered derogatory, “non-native worker.” A non-native worker, or migrant worker, is a member of the floating population who has come to Dongguan to live.  The irony is that Dongguan has at least 3/5 more non-natives than natives. This larger percentage of the population would henceforth be known as xinguanren, or “New Dongguaners.”

I started another search to find out what an actual “New Dongguaner” thought of this new term. I inserted the pronoun “I” before the word xinguanren –“I, new Dongguaner” and the search results shifted from newspaper articles to personal blogs. In the blogs, the term was interpreted in terms of the details of daily life: the Temporary Residence Permits they still had to obtain, and the arbitrary fees they still had to pay. I began another inquiry to find out more about these topics. As I read more articles, there was an interesting twist. The national government announced that starting in 2009 it was abolishing many of the regulations the bloggers were complaining about, which acted to divide natives from non-natives, temporary residents from permanent ones. I then examined the actual extent of these changes through one issue important to New Dongguaner families –whether or not they can enter their children into the same state subsidized schools which are open to permanent residents.

I begin with the article which explains the term, xinguanren. Then, I shift to the perspective of an anonymous blogger. The rest of the translations that follow are an attempt to understand and explicate this blogger’s complaint. In digging into the layered strata of permits and fees, there are parts that will test any reader’s patience with the minutiae of details, but I wanted to provide as much of a whole as I could.

My comments between articles are prefaced by “konjaku”.

The Expression “New Dongguaner” (xinguanren) Manifests the Spirit of Dongguan City that “a Hundred Rivers Make up One Sea.”

2007-04-14 Dongguan Sun Net

Yesterday the new appellation for “non-native workers” went through final deliberations and was decided to be “New Dongguaner.” The transformation of this term will allow both the city residents and the staff of the many business enterprises in Dongguan to feel a sense of elation. With this appellation everyone will be able to manifest the warm and cordial spirit that “a hundred rivers make up one sea.”

More than a few factory workers have expressed discomfort at the previous term for them, “non-native workers,” feeling it contained a certain bias against outsiders. The New Dongguaner Mr Li said, “In the past, it seems that you people of Dongguan also came here from some other area, whether originally as migrant laborers or not. But no one called you ‘non-native workers.’ Why should it be any different for us?”

Although what has changed is just a word, this alteration expresses not only the government’s concern for migrant laborers, but also the concepts of “harmony” “openness” and “striving for compatibility” that are inherent in the new development phase of our city. As Associate Professor Lin Juying at the Municipal Communist Party school said, “This is actually a conceptual transformation, which demonstrates the rationality in the Dongguan people’s manner of doing things. By welcoming people of ability from different regions in this manner, we build ourselves up all together.”

The Communist Party School Provost Zhao Weihua said, This change to “New Dongguaners” shows our meeting of minds with the migrant workers. With this, we can further enliven the enthusiasm and initiative of these workers in their work here in Dongguan.”

It goes without saying that we all hope that from this glorious new beginning, that the ongoing reform and continuing establishment of Dongguan will reach perfection.

Editor: Mai Zhenxi


konjaku: Now for a bloggers perspective:

The blogger posted a photo of a printed notice. I translate the text of the notice, followed by the blogger’s comments.

Procedure to Obtain Temporary Residence Permit

A notice from the Shipai town branch office of Dongguan city states that those workers who do not complete the procedures to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit by 2009-09-10, will be subject to a fine levied by the Public Security office. For the individual 50 yuan, for the organization that employs them, 500 yuan, for a total of 550 yuan. Every migrant worker should act with all possible speed to obtain the permit according to the following requirements:

1. Before 2009-09-05, they must appear at a processing office with a completed request form, a copy of an identity card, and two color photographs.

2. For each individual the fee to process the permit is 30 yuan. The cost will be deducted from the worker’s September wage payment from the employer.

3. If a worker fails to obtain the permit and is discovered by Public Security, the responsibility falls on the worker alone. The employer bears no responsibility. The entire amount of 550 yuan will be withheld from the worker’s salary.


Blog Text:

As for the Temporary Residence Permit, everyone can feel the same perplexity as I do. How is it that on the very soil of my own country, I can only live in this place in a temporary status? In fact, I have resided here for many years, yet I don’t think I can become a native. In this area there is a strange system which is clearly discriminatory. It may be legal, even rational, but it does great emotional damage to non-natives–why is it human nature cannot change? Because there is a real managerial need to make this system as effective as possible, why don’t they just charge the base cost for the permit (5 yuan)? Doesn’t this make people feel they are being robbed (on top of that, we have to fork over a monthly fee to Public Security for “security expenses”)? If the Temporary Residence Permit fee was limited to 5 yuan, I believe more people would be willing to apply for it. Consider that last year in Dongguan the basic minimum pay was 770 yuan. While you might think the bosses at the different factories are acting according to the same norm, in reality, a majority of privately run factories have begun deducting as much as 100 yuan for living expenses and rent, whereas before they did not deduct this. The norm for minimum pay actually drops to five or six hundred. Prices for goods are soaring upward, but my pay isn’t. Three years ago a meal from a roadside vendor cost three yuan, now it is up to eight. At most, our wages have gone up 30% in this period. Because of the financial crisis, Dongguan residents(natives) have gotten bonuses and various types of financial benefits, but our wages have not increased. The bosses, following the new labor law, have decreased wages by 20% while returning to a monetary award system. If that sounds great, imagine my bitter smile when getting my bi-weekly salary…

It is constantly said that the term “New Dongguaner” is a very cordial and warm way to refer to us, but what sort of Dongguaners are we? The benefits the natives receive are shut off from us, and if there is ever a dispute, we will always revert to being outsiders. Can’t you see with what sort of expression they look at us? It is the expression of superior people looking at their inferiors. This attitude will never change! Starting next year natives will be able to ride public busses for free, but do non-natives get this kind of benefit? Not a chance. For our children to go to school, every school term we have to lay out several thousands in cash. Then for this kind of permit and that kind of permit we have to pay. Many people work overtime,to the point of risking their lives from the strain, and end up with just one thousand yuan and that’s all. Who can endure this kind of torment? We might as well go back home and start farming again! We don’t feel we have become the so-called “New Dongguaners.” I feel sick when I hear the word. I am not willing to be a New Dongguaner, please don’t call me that. I am nothing but a temporary resident!

konjaku: Dongguan is a prefectural level city, divided into towns, of which Shipai town is one. The government in Shipai in September 2009 was apparently trying to force those New Dongguaners who had not yet gotten a Temporary Residence Permit to obtain one. According to this blogger, the reason many do not get the Temporary Residence Permit is the expense –the 30 yuan “processing fee” mentioned in the notice, and, though not fully defined, other fees on top of that, such as the monthly fee for “security expenses.”

What does the blogger mean when he talks about the “base cost” of 5 yuan? An article from 2002, seven years before this blog, provides some answers.

Guangdong: Collection of fees for Temporary Residence Permits is Brought to a Halt — but there are Difficulties in Carrying this out

Xinhuanet 2002-03-13

Guangzhou has already started using an advanced Temporary Residence Permit in the form of an IC card — the collection of fees in that city is comparatively free of irregularities


The new standards for fees are about to go into effect, and the departments concerned reiterate, during this transitional period, any additional fees over the base cost are against regulations.

The Guangdong Province Price Standards Bureau issued an Urgent Notice that all fees except the base cost are suspended for Temporary Residence Permits, to go into effect on 2002-03-01(hereafter, the ”3-1 Urgent Notice”). Since then, this newspaper has received phone calls from persons in Foshan, Dongguan, etc., saying that the old fees are still being collected, in amounts that are the same or higher than before. Therefore, this reporter went to interview an official in the Guangdong Public Security department concerned with floating population issues.

A Public Security representative answers questions —

Question: Is it or is it not against regulations to collect any fees beside the base cost when a non-native worker applies for a Temporary Residence Permit?

The County Public Security Bureau expects all relevant city departments to absorb the contents of the Urgent Notice of Suspension of Fees to Non-Native Workers sent out 3-1 (2002) within four days, and to act on its provisions. The collection of the Security Expenses Fee from non-native workers is against regulations.

What was the previous situation in regard to collection of fees from non-native workers?

Previously, Public Security in various localities collected 3 to 6 yuan a month from non-native workers as the Security Expenses Fee. This Fee was ratified by the Price Standards Bureau, and was used to pay the salaries of management staff. Because they collected this fee, up to now Public Security did not request the base cost to be paid when transacting the Temporary Residence Permit.

What is the current attitude toward the base cost?

According to the National Planning Committee stipulations, the base cost for a Temporary Residence Permit cannot exceed 5 yuan. However, the 3-1 Urgent Notice does not set what the amount should be. Therefore each city, when it comes to the permit, is faced with an embarrassing problem. It has been reported that lower level officials in the cities have stopped issuing Temporary Residence Permits because they don’t know how to fix the base price. But, we can still affirm that if anyone charges more than the 5 yuan price, this is against regulations.

A person in an official position in the Guangdong Province Price Standards Bureau said that the principal reason the Bureau put out the urgent notice is to settle for once and for all the matter of fees paid by non-native workers. The Provincial Government is about to present to the public the new policy. During this transitional period the best recourse is to suspend the collection of fees, as an essential first step to putting the new standards into place. This suspension has no effect on the forms and paperwork needed to get the permit.

At present in this province the three departments that have administrative expenses which impact the population of non-native workers are Family Planning, Public Security, and Labor. Among them there are 12 fee items in all. Excepting the fee for the Temporary Residence Permit, for the planned birth certificate, and the administrative fee when a worker gets employed, we understand that the other nine fee items will be dropped. At present the province is readying an intensive effort to disseminate and publicize the new standards. It is hoped they will soon be put into effect.

The Price Standards Bureau has repeatedly ordered that in the transaction of Temporary Residence Permits, all fees (excluding the base price) be suspended. However, on 3-3, the non-native worker Mr Wang, applying in Foshan city, in Shiwan district Zhangcha town Cunwei village, was still asked to pay a Public Sanitation fee of 15 yuan a month. Mr Wang comes from Sichuan. His Temporary Residence Permit became due on 3-4, therefore he went on the evening of 3-3 to Public Security. What is amazing about this, is that on the very door of the Public Security office where he was applying, a notice was posted, saying “As of 3-1, the collection of any fees whatsoever is suspended, except for the Public Sanitation Fee which is 15 yuan a month.”

When Mr Wang formally inquired the reason for this, the Public Security person said, “If you do not hand over the fee of 15 yuan, we will fine you 30 yuan. Just apply for the permit now. If you refuse to apply, we will arrest you.” Mr Wang had no choice, so he handed over the payment of the Sanitation fee covering from 3-4 to 4-4, amounting to 15 yuan.

Shortly after, this reporter called the Cunwei Village Public Security office. A person of responsibility in the office there said, “In Cunwei villager every villager is required to pay a Public Sanitation fee of 10 yuan a month. There is no reason why the non-native workers should not also pay it. If they don’t pay it, by what means will their garbage be picked up?” He thought collecting a fee of 15 yuan was entirely reasonable.

This reporter then made a special trip to that village. A staff member in the Public Security office said, “We did receive the 3-1 Urgent Notice, and we have suspended all fees in connection with Temporary Residence Permits. It is out of the question that there could be any problem of fee payment.” However Mr Wang had a receipt for his payment, which was dated 3-3.

A staff member of the Price Standards Bureau said the provincial office had made it absolutely clear to Foshan Public Security and other relevant offices that no fee whatsoever was to be collected.

“You mean as of 3-1 they should not collect fees beyond the base price? Why is it I still paid more than 100 yuan?” A non-native worker in Dongguan recently wrote to this newspaper. Apparently Dongguan is one of the few cities which continues to collect dubious fees for no clear reason, even after the Urgent Notice was issued.

Hubei native Xiao You wrote that he has had a temporary job in Dongguan Daoyao town for the last six years. Every year he renewed his Temporary Residence Permit for the whole year at one time. This year when he went to renew, his administrative district office told him to pay 50 yuan, and Public Security required from him 60 yuan [the base price for the Permit], making 110 yuan in all. Xiao You said, according to the stipulations he should pay the base price of 5 yuan per month, making his total 60 yuan, and that’s all, but the district made him pay 50 yuan more, for an “environmental protection fee.” He has no idea whether he really ought to pay this extra fee or not.

This reporter immediately phoned the Dongguan city Floating Population Management branch of Public Security, and spoke to a staff member. This staff member said that although they have ordered all relevant departments to comply strictly with the Urgent Notice, some irregular collections of fees were still taking place. There are many agencies that need to coordinate in the collection of fees –village committees, the factories which function as employers, and Public Security –all these need to communicate with each other. If there is a weak link, it is probably at the village committee level — these may still want to collect fees, and are not as responsive to Public Security communications as they should be.

Since the base price is still not clearly fixed, some towns and districts are not collecting any fee at all, others have suspended issuing permits altogether. There are some village committees that collect the same fees from non-native workers as before, and then issue the permit, even though Public Security has ordered them to issue the permit without the fees.

A male employee at the Changguang Company in Huiyang has written to this newspaper, complaining that this factory, following their practice of previous years, charged him 180 yuan to process the temporary resident permit. A spokesman of the company said, they were aware of the 3-1 Urgent Notice, but this did not stipulate what the base price should be. It was a big headache for them. The factory had already inquired at the local police sub-station what to collect, but the police referred them to the Huiyang City government. The City government sent them back to the police sub-station. They were forced to use the criteria of the previous year to set the amount of the fee. Once the new policy comes out they will return the overcharge or collect the shortage. A leading cadre at the factory said because of the overall confusion, many workers were reluctant to apply for the permit.

A list of the fees previously leveled on non-native workers in Guangdong:

Entity collecting    Collecting agency    Name of fee

Nation Public Security Temporary resident permit fee

Province Public Security Floating population security expenses  fee

Province Family Planning Non-native workers family planning expense fee, floating population member family planning certificate fee

Province Labor department Employment services fee, employment registration card fee

Guangzhou localities   City infrastructure improvement fee

Shenzhen  Temporary resident administration fee

Zhuhai Temporary resident services fee, City improvement fee

Shunde Non-native workers administrative fee

konjaku: There is here a repeating pattern, in which a higher government office decides to regulate, standardize, and do away with fees considered excessive. In response, the lower, local administrative entity, facing a projected loss of income, tries to reinstate or replace the eliminated fees.The base cost (literally, “production cost”) of the Temporary Residence Permit is, or should be, 5 yuan. But note, as the example of Xiao You given above demonstrates, that the 5 yuan is a monthly fee, meaning the applicant  actually pays 60 yuan a year. 60 yuan is almost 8% of a yearly wage of 770. The local government departments to whom the applicant goes to process the paperwork have added their own fees, a process of gradual proliferation which the 2002 reform seeks to bring to a halt. Although I don’t have an article which describes the implementation of the new policy in 2002, the following piece from 2008 provides an interesting overview.

Guangdong: the Four Transformations Strengthen Services to Members of the Floating Population.

Source: Xinhua net  2008-04-07

As Provincial Party Secretary and Governing Committee Chairman Liu Yupu explained, Guangdong province brings in labor from all over the country. The population of temporary residents has expanded from 500,000 in 1982 to 30,000,000 today. This immense flood of people has made important contributions to the Guangdong economy, but has also brought about great pressure on administrative and social services. In recent years Guangdong has made the following four changes:

1) From departments operating separately to coordination and synthesis between government departments administrating the floating population, which now makes up one third of the nation’s total population.

2) Putting people first: from an administration that restricts, to an administration that serves.

3)From biased and crude treatment, to a civilized and respectful treatment of the floating population.

4) To move from collecting fees to an overall finance and taxation system. Beginning in 2002, Guangdong successively abolished previously existing fees: the security expenses fee, the apartment rental security expenses fee, the employment services fee –nine fees in all. At present the only fee is the base cost for the Temporary Residence Permit (5 yuan at each renewal). In 2007 Guangzhou city took the lead in abolishing the need to pay the base price. The fee amount the province collected from the floating population decreased by 300 million yuan a year.

At the same time, because of the expansion of the rental housing market, in 2007 Guangdong issued a new Notice of Taxation of Rental Property, subjecting all renters to a tax. The proceeds from this tax were used to pay for services and administration of the floating population, making up for the shortfall caused by the loss of revenue from the abolished fees.

konjaku: In principle, extraneous or arbitrary fees that targeted the floating population were abolished. Well and good, but then there is a revenue shortfall. As the initial blogger’s post suggests, the 2002 reform was simply not possible to implement completely, and the old local fees crept back in. Making up the shortfall by taxing renters can in the end only be a temporary measure, because it is tied to “the expansion of the rental housing market” which cannot go on forever. This stopgap measure shows that the goal of a consistent and equitable “overall finance and taxation system” is still in the future. To be fair, the massive influx of migrant workers and their influence on local resources is a difficult problem.

Here are a few more examples from bloggers, making clear that, contrary to what this article states, fees abolished in 2002 have remained, perhaps with different names.

A blogger describes his frantic rush to get a permit, then sums the process up:


The way to quickly get your Temporary Residence Permit is to follow this course: you need to go first to the police division office in your district and fill out an application form (you pay 16 yuan for the city greenery fee and photos), then carrying this material you next go to the local police sub-station and pay 30 yuan for the security expenses fee, getting a receipt in return. Taking this as well you go to the Public Security office and hand over your accumulated documents. If all is in order, the same day you can obtain the permit.



Dongguan — at last I behold the mysterious Temporary Residence Permit!

In Dongguan I have already bought a house, but because of the government’s horse shit, I am still not a permanent resident. Currently in our district notices have been posted saying we must go to the local police station to get a Temporary Residence Permit.

There are several issues here I don’t understand. I called the police station to complain, but they said problems with the Temporary Residence Permit are ones they cannot solve!

1. I am a lawful citizen of the Chinese People’s Republic. Why do I need to have a Temporary residence Permit in my own country?

2. The house I bought belongs to me legally under established rights to property, why do I need a Temporary Residence Permit to live in it?

3. How did the fee for a Temporary Residence Permit get bound up with other fees — the city population increase fee, the security expenses fee, the city greenery fee? All these together add up to over 100 yuan. As a citizen, I have already paid my personal income tax, delivering the amount due in person. Why should Public Security sector problems be addressed by taking money out of the hand of the ordinary citizen?

We are powerless against this horse shit. As people of the underclass, what should we do? Will a voice from the far corners of the earth tell us what to do?

konjaku:Fees are not only an issue for members of the floating population. Others, some probably permanent residents,also encounter the Security Expenses fee. The blogs are full of people asking if this fee is legal or not:

In Dongguan, is the Security Expenses Fee legal or not? I am an independent merchant in Changping town (in Dongguan). If someone from the local police station comes to collect the Security Expenses Fee, is that legal or not? It is 200 yuan a year.

Best answer: It is not legal — it is not different from paying protection money to the criminal underworld. That these public servants behave like scum, does it not betray our nation?

In Dongguan city Chang’an town, is it legal for the Wushaliwu Public Security police to collect a Security Expenses Fee?

Every store has to pay the fee, 200 yuan a year. What’s more, the police come to one’s place of business to collect it. How is this different from protection money? Is there a Dongguan city government document which stipulates this?

3 answers:

1. Of course it is not legal. Those Public Security police over there are my fellow villagers, I heard that at the end of the year they got bonuses. The money for the bonuses came from there (the Security Expenses Fee).

2. Whether it is legal or not legal, there is nothing we can do but pay whatever they say.

3. It is like protection money to the criminal underworld, but the police are stronger than the criminals. Therefore if they say it is legal, it is legal. In the 27th article of the City Code it says that when migrant workers receive the Temporary Residence Permit, they should follow provincial regulations and pay the Security Expenses Fee.

konjaku: From these postings,we can tentatively reconstruct what has happened since the 2002 reform. The problematic Security Expenses Fee, which seems to exist in too many different forms to eradicate, continued to be bound to the permit application, even though the 2008 article from Xinhua states it had been abolished. In addition, new fees were promulgated on the city or town level: in Dongguan city the population increase fee and the city greenery fee. Looking again at the notice from Shipai city which the blogger photographed and then vented about, it says, “For each individual the fee to process the permit is 30 yuan.” We can now understand the history behind this statement, and the ways it violates the spirit of reforms initiated at the provincial level. Compare these two statements:

Xinhuanet 2002: “Public Security in various localities collected 3 to 6 yuan a month from non-native workers as the Security Expenses Fee. This Fee was ratified by the Price Standards Bureau, and was used to pay the salaries of management staff.”

Blog: “ Of course it is not legal. Those Public Security police over there are my fellow villagers, I heard that at the end of the year they got bonuses. The money for the bonuses came from there (the Security Expenses Fee).”

The statement from Xinhuanet sounds bland and reasonable on first reading, but the consequence is what is stated in the blog. Rather, the blog simply states the same facts in more direct and personal language. When a government agency needs to collect from certain segments of the population a fee to pay its own salaries, the integrity of the legal system and civil society comes into question. But such problems arise from one thing –a lack of adequate revenue and resources available at the time they are needed.

Before trying to force New Dongguaners to acquire Temporary Resident Permits using threats, Shipai town tried a softer approach. This article is dated a week before the blogger from Shipai town posted his complaint.

Shipai town requires a Temporary Residence Permit to Apply for a Driver’s license and a Travel Permit

Source: Dongguan Sun Net 2009-08-31

Our many New Dongguaner friends would do well to note, that when you apply for and acquire a Temporary Residence Permit, you will then have the right to apply for a driver’s license. Those members of the floating population who have not done so yet, should do so right away.

Section Chief of the Division of Supervision of the Floating Population Li Xiaobin: “What are the benefits of getting a Temporary Residence Permit? First, your children can attend school. Any New Dongguaner who meets the requirement of having lived here for three full years, can apply to have their children enter the state-run school system. Second, it is necessary to have a Temporary Residence Permit to register a motor vehicle. They can obtain a driver’s license, in the same way as residents. They can apply for a passport, and for a household residence permit. That makes five benefits in all. After coming to Shipai, an individual 16 years old or older can apply for a Temporary Residence Permit after 30 days, and should obtain one before the end of a year. With a Temporary Residence Permit a New Dongguaner receives the same conveniences as residents. The permit is also essential for the New Dongguaner to safeguard their own rights and interests. (Shipai town media center).

konjaku: The New Dongguaner who doesn’t have a Temporary Residence Permit might wonder why it is necessary to get one. As proof of identity, every person already has a permanent residence document. The Temporary Residence Permit might be an aid for the government to keep tabs on the floating population, by having them apply for and carry a card with a current, local address. However, members of this population change addresses frequently. The expense needed to maintain a database on temporary residents based on the information gained from the issuing of the Permits is probably not worth the possible benefits. New Dongguaners might suspect that the purpose of the Permit is solely to subject them to fees, which are in reality add-on local taxes. For the applicant, what benefits are there?

“First, your children can attend school.” As we shall see later, this claim is a matter of best intentions forfeited by actual circumstances. In any case, three years is a long time to wait to enter a child in a school. Perhaps New Dongguaners see this benefit as actually meaning: ‘pay fees (local taxes) for three years, then we’ll let you use our school system.’

“They can register a motor vehicle.” Fine, if they have one.

“They can apply for a driver’s license.” Those who are not getting Temporary Residence Permits because of the expense are unlikely to own or drive motor vehicles.

“They can apply for a passport.” Same. Those whose lifestyle includes overseas trips can afford the Permit and probably already have one.

“They can apply for a household residence permit.” This is not explained in enough detail to know what other conditions must be met. Whatever is referred to here however, was nullified by a reform initiative starting in 2010, described below (the article titled “Guangdong Implements New Rules “).

The pattern of sweeping reform at higher levels followed by local resistance because of revenue loss again appears in the following, apparently large scale change. At beginning of 2009 the national government announced reforms that seemed ready to sweep away all permits and fees. On the national level:

China “Cries Halt!” to the Hundreds of Fees –Canceling the Base Cost of Temporary Residence Permits Draws Widespread Interest

Zhejiang Province News 2009-01-09

Background: As of 1-01 of this year (2009) The entire country in unity abolishes or suspends 100 items of administrative service fees. 92 items are abolished, 8 are suspended. These include administrative fees, certificates and permits fees, authentication fees, education and examination fees, etc. These involve education, employment, the mobility of trained personnel, professional qualifications, engineering projects, foreign trade and exports, medicines and drugs, poultry breeding, agricultural produce, and many other fields of endeavor.

Upon learning that the fee for attending school as a temporary resident had been abolished, the temporary worker Mr Liu residing in Beijing Haidian district was glad. Mr Liu was from Shandong. He came to Beijing a number of years ago and now considers Beijing his home. His child was a first grader in a certain Haidian district elementary school. Because his child’s household registry was in his hometown, according to Beijing city regulations he had to pay the fee as a temporary resident of 200 yuan every school term. Since the fee was now abolished, Mr Liu calculates he will save 2400 yuan by the time his child has finished elementary school.

But Mr Liu could not help but worry: “If there is no more fee, can my child still attend school as a temporary resident? Will the school still keep my child as a student?

Principal Yang Ying of an elementary school in Xuanwu district (Beijing) responded, it is unlikely that abolishing the fee will have any effect on students whose parents are temporary residents. The school keeps revenues and expenditures separate. It sends the fees it collects to the bank account of the Finance Administration, which then authorizes the release of funds to the school. The school’s admission plan for spring is still being drafted, but ” the shortfall from the loss of these fees will be made up by the Finance Administration, that is clear. It definitely will have no effect on admissions.”

Most schools and families this reporter interviewed agreed that abolishing the fee was a good thing, but the government needed to go one step further and increase the outlay of funds for education. Without the promise of more funds, and the strengthening of structurally unsound school buildings, this policy change will not be implemented smoothly.

Abolishing the Temporary Residence Permit base cost

At 7 in the morning, this reporter went to the Liuliqiao police substation in the Fengtai district in Beijing. At around 8, five windows that deal with Temporary Residence Permits opened. This reporter talked to a Mr Zhao who had just gotten into the line. He said he had heard from a fellow villager from Hebei that from this year Temporary Residence Permits would be free of charge, so he hurried here today on purpose to get one. Before a quarter hour had passed, he had a free permit in his hand.

According to a staff member in the Liuliqiao police substation, the area comprised by the district is large. Because it is close to the Beijing West train station, and the Liuliqiao long distance bus station, people from elsewhere are densely congregated here. On any ordinary day many people come to the station to obtain a Temporary Residence Permit. Since New Year’s, after the 5 yuan base cost was abolished, the number has clearly increased, and they have had to add two more staff members. “Before there were 80 people a day. Now there are 500 people in two days.”

Abolishing the base cost certainly lightens the burden upon members of the floating population, but a new problem is produced. Recently there have been individuals who come back several times for a permit. Each time they claim they lost theirs. The police suspect they are using it as security when they pawn an item. They have reported this to the higher authorities, and are waiting for them to issue a restrictive measure to deal with this.

Entrepreneurs also like the Abolishment of Fees.

Mr Chen has a clothing factory in Guangdong. Because of the economic downturn, he is planning to start a new business. He told this reporter, that with this new measure, when he registers his new company he will have only a few expenses, instead of the many he would have expected before.

Once this policy is fully implemented down to the local level, the burden of administrative service fees will be removed from business enterprises and society. It is estimated that a total of 1.9 billion yuan (approximately 278 million dollars) will no longer be collected from the social entities that used to pay such fees.

A government cadre in the Finance Ministry said that this measure will spur reinvestment within business companies and give consumers more disposable income, expanding demand for goods. This will also stimulate the government to improve its administrative practices and move towards an administration that serves the people rather than manages them.

Reporter Zhao Da

Editor Zhang Peng

konjaku: Guangdong province at the beginning of 2010 initiated its own significant reform aimed at treatment of the floating population:

Guangdong Implements New Rules for the Floating Population, Announcing an End to the Temporary Residence Permit System

Legal Daily 2010-01-04 Reporter: Deng Xinjian

This reporter has read the new regulations, and these clearly state that members of the floating population will be able to have Residence Permits. In a step by step process of transition they will become eligible for the same rights and services as the general public.

Those members of the floating population between the ages of 16-60 can apply free of charge for a Residence Permit. In the place they reside they will be able to participate in Social Security, apply for a Driver’s License, and get business visas for Hong Kong and Macao. When they prove they have paid social security taxes at the same locality for five years, their children can enter school on the same footing as those of permanent residents. When they prove they have paid social security taxes at the same locality for seven years, they can apply for Permanent Residency.

The Residence Permit will have on it seven items of information, including name, gender, and place of registered permanent residency. If the period of validity needs to be extended, or the local address changed, it will be possible to rub out these areas and write in the new information. Therefore the holder does not have to reapply for a new card.

konjaku: This sounds promising, but for the moment, the only real change people will experience is that information on the card can easily be changed, making it easier to keep the card they have, and not have to miss work to apply for a new one when they change addresses. As temporary residents, they were already able to pay social security and obtain driver’s licenses. This holds true for the next article also.

In Dongguan:

The Temporary Residence Permit — as of New Years Day, in Dongguan We Will All Say Farewell to it

2009-12-25 Dongguan Sun Net

The Temporary Residence Permit — there are many people who do not like to hear these words, but with the New Year, this system will depart from the stage of history. As of 1-1, the 30,000,000 temporary residents will turn into residents.

This important news has had strong repercussions among New Dongguaners. At the same time they shout “bravo,” they expect that in education and employment they will enjoy more favorable treatment.

In Dongguan how exactly will the new residence permit system be carried out? What are the procedures to get one? The answers have today been published by the Working Committee on Implementation.

From now on members of the floating population will not have to go through the nuisance of constantly renewing their Temporary Residence Permit when there is some change in their situation. With a residence permit a person has only to go to the local police sub-station or the Floating Population Service Center in his or her residential district to make the change easily.

According to the Conference report, from 1-1 of next year (2010), the entire province will change over to a residence permit system. The Floating Population Service Centers will go by a “one certificate to pass through” system [a simplified application process requiring only one document of proof].

This means that the change over will commence New Year’s day, a week from now. According to the just announced regulations, along with the resident permits a person can also register a motor vehicle and obtain a driver’s license.

As for entering school, if the individual with the residence permit has lived at the same place continuously for five years, and has paid into social security for the same amount of time, the child can enter a preschool, and will be on an equal footing with permanent residents in applying for entrance into state subsidized schools.

If the individual has lived in the same place for seven years, and fulfilled all the other requirements (social security payments, family planning, no criminal record), that person can apply to be a permanent resident. Other specifics of the measure above the local level are being formulated by the People’s Government.

konjaku: What percentage of the floating population has lived in the same place for five years? On the other hand, there are “temporary residents” who do have houses and families. However, entering one’s children into public school turns out to be a more complicated issue, as the following show. The first article, from 2008, gives some background:

If They Fulfill the Four Conditions, the Children of New Dongguaners can Enter State Subsidized Schools Dongguan 2008-05-30

Yesterday, the Dongguan city government announced that it was seeking public opinions in response to the “Temporary Measure to allow the children of New Dongguaners to receive free education in state subsidized schools.” (Hereafter, “Temporary Measure”). All the questions of what sorts of conditions applicants must conform to, and what treatment they can expect to receive in terms of entering school, are dealt with in the Temporary Measure. Townspeople should send in their opinions in written form to the City government [address provided in the original], or by fax or e-mail, by 6-6.

70% of New Dongguaner children attend non-subsidized schools.

This year in our town the New Dongguaner children attending school number over 440,000, making up 60 percent of middle and elementary school children. Since 2001, every year this population has increased by 50,000. Among these, only 30 percent of New Dongguaner children attend state subsidized (public) schools, with the remaining 70 percent “absorbed” into non-subsidized private schools.

Already in 2000, New Dongguaner children were in theory able to attend state subsidized schools, but in practice, as their numbers increased, the resources were not sufficient to accommodate them. However, the quality of the private schools was not good enough to satisfy the New Dongguaner parents, and the appeals for high quality state provided education became greater.

Today, although the majority of New Dongguaners want their children to attend state subsidized schools, the number of places available is finite. Only those who conform to the required conditions can apply. As before, the private schools must assume the role of taking on the majority of new Dongguaner children. Therefore a person in charge in the city education department stated that educational policy must proceed on two fronts: tapping the latent potentiality of state subsidized schools, and improving the quality of the private schools.

Assuming the child is already enrolled in a private school, the parents have worked continuously (have an employment contract), have lived in the city for five years or more, are in conformity with national family planning policy, have a certificate recording an examination at a family planning center, then, if they meet one of the following four conditions, New Dongguaners can apply their children to a state subsidized school:

1. If one of the parents has a record of studying at a university, or has a bachelor’s degree (must provide academic record), if the parent has a regular job, and has paid into the social security program for at least five years .

2. If one of the parents has qualifications in a mid-level technical skill, or a qualification from the National Occupational Skill Testing Authority (with authenticating certificate), has a regular job, and has paid into the social security program for at least five years.

3.   If one of the parents has invested in or owns a business licensed by the Ministry of Reconstruction and Commerce, and pays a yearly tax amount over 30,000 yuan, or if the parent pays a personal income tax of over 10,000 yuan.

4. If the parent has a position on the government Economical Development Board (must provide relevant documents).

konjaku: From a blog:

I am a person of Hou Jie town, Xin Tang district, and every day I see the children of New Dongguaners taking the bus to go to elementary school. On days when there is wind and rain, they wait for the bus, though there is no shelter. At times the bus is full of people, and the driver does not let the children on. I see children walking toward Hou Jie, just to get to an earlier stop on the line when the bus is less crowded.I stopped yesterday to chat with one of these students, and she told me the school requires them to come early in the morning to study the Student Rules (Di zi gui). She got up at 6:30 and went to wait for the bus, but the regular bus didn’t come. It wasn’t until 7:30 that she could board a bus, and got to school late. I can’t help but worry about these children. They are also Chinese citizens, they also live in Dongguan, why are they treated differently from the children of permanent residents? I am afraid that all the effort in trying to catch buses makes it harder for them to get in the frame of mind to study. If there is no money for school buildings for them, at least the city should put up covered bus stops!

konjaku: Di zi gui –a Qing dynasty primer, by Li Yuxiu, about respecting parents and elders.

konjaku: someone responded to this blog post, in a way that confirms the suspicions of New Dongguaners that there is a strong degree of prejudice toward them. However, the writer is a middle school student.

A response to the request to build covered waiting areas at bus stops for Xinguanren children


Hello to all! I am a student in a certain middle school in Dongguan. Because of the steady increase of New Dongguaners around me. I have come to feel Dongguan is no longer Dongguan anymore.

When we residents of Dongguan walk on the main streets, the majority of the people are New Dongguaners. You New Dongguaners, are you aware that we look at you with disdain? To a certain group of New Dongguaners, I say, your behavior is too much.

Many people have come here to take temporary jobs in factories, causing the economy of Dongguan to grow. But your actions and behavior make people despise you. You make the streets messy with garbage, and spit everywhere. Aren’t you ashamed when you see the discarded trash floating in the river? During the night you go into the streets and commit robberies, aren’t you ashamed? When on the streets you use obscene words and rough language towards us Dongguan residents, aren’t you ashamed? When you destroy public property (such as phone booths), aren’t you ashamed?

Do you feel we act cold and detached toward you? Well, it is true.  Can you reflect on your own behavior as to why this might be? You steal and swindle, how can we trust you? This damages the image, not only of Dongguan residents, but you New Dongguaners as well. We do not know how to tell which New Dongguaners are good, and which are bad. Therefore we keep our distance from all of you. When you ask for directions on the street,  we just say we don’t know. Do you know why? Because we have already had experiences of this question being the start of an attempt to swindle us. Even if you truly need help it still might be an attempt to cheat us, therefore we do not enthusiastically offer help.

If what I have said is too biased or extreme, I apologize to certain of the New Donguanners. Because I am a middle school student, I am not skilled at giving my opinion, but I hope some will listen to me.


Dongguan Sun Net

New Dongguaners have Intense Concern over whether their Children can attend State Subsidized Schools or not

Dongguan is a city in which a large percentage of the population has come from somewhere else. The problem of New Dongguaner children receiving a free education is of great concern to society. Where are the resources to allow these 400,000 children or more to all receive the same education? This year this has been one of the issues that the Dongguan city “Joint Session” has focussed on. We the common people can examine the issue through three “counter-attacks” that arose from netizens discussion boards, and two “good recommendations.”

Counter-attack #1

Why can’t “purchasing one’s residence to qualify” be realized?

After 2008-01-01, when Dongguan city abolished the ability of persons to obtain a residence permit by purchasing the place in which they lived, the hope of New Dongguaners that they could have their children receive a free public education through obtaining resident status was severed. In 2009-05, the Provisional Plan was released, which allowed New Dongguaners to apply based on a “credit system.” With enough credits, they could receive the same treatment as registered permanent residents, in regard to entering their children in public school.

Recently some New Dongguaners have urged a supplement to the Provisional Plan, namely, “purchasing residence qualifies for school admission.” This would allow those who have purchased their place of residence to be allowed to apply their children to public school. According to a poll by Dongguan Sun Net, 40% of the netizens agree to relaxing the Provisional Plan to allow this provision. Many netizens point out that they have already purchased their homes or apartments, meaning that Dongguan has effectively become their place of residence. Are they supposed to send their children back to their original hometown to attend school?

Government response:

Bureau of Education Director Yang Xiaotang explained, because resources for public education are limited, at present the government cannot implement the “purchasing residence qualifies for school admission” policy. The purchase of residential property is one item already in the “credit system,” and purchasing real estate property does add credits to the purchaser towards receiving a school admission. However, those who negotiated a contract before the Temporary Measure went into effect, to have a child admitted based on a purchase, should first check with the education bureau in the town they live in before buying the property. They do not want to be fooled by exaggerated claims.

Counter-attack #2

Why can’t the family planning and social security payment thresholds be lowered?

Last year in the fifth month, when the credit system and the Temporary Measure appeared, the time in which people could apply was limited to one month. Because of the requirements in terms of planned births and social security, by the end of the application period, there were not enough qualified applicants to fill the open school positions. Our city had no choice but to change the policy and take out the requirement regarding social security payments. This change allowed 14,000 New Dongguaner children to be admitted to state subsidized schools when the new term started in 2009-09.

Shipai town Duzhou Elementary School Assistant Principal Peng Lizhen explained, the majority of the New Dongguaners who apply are middle to low income families. After the new policy was put in effect, the places the schools set aside for New Dongguaner applicants remained vacant. She proposed lowering the thresholds for applying. “If the family applying has not violated national family planning policy, we should be flexible about their social security payments and how long they have been temporary residents.” Those schools with vacancies should take the New Dongguaner children who meet these conditions. For those families which do not, the school can give the children applying an examination and take those with outstanding scores.

Some netizens have even proposed the family planning threshold should be lower. “If a family has an excess birth of a child outside of family planning regulations, can’t the government still allow their first child, whose birth was not a violation, to apply to school?”

Government response:

Bureau of Education Director Wang Renhuai said, in looking at last year’s applications, the applications of 70 percent of the New Dongguaner children were rejected because of family planning violations. But family planning policy is a national policy, a basic policy of the state, and it cannot be relaxed.

As for the social security problem, in our city the Provisional Plan started undergoing revision in the 12th month of last year, and a draft of the revised manuscript was leaked. It states that if a New Dongguaner family has a stable income, is in accord with family planning, and pays social security for five years, they can apply their children. If they have not been here for five years, but if either the mother or father has paid some social security, they can apply, and, based on their total credits, the social security requirement threshold will be cancelled.

Counter-attack # 3

Can the procedures to apply be simplified? Many New Dongguaners who applied last year have unpleasant memories of the time consumed on trivial details and the supplying of numerous certificates. There were 14 items for which they needed attesting documents. For the family planning requirement alone, the head of household had to go to three different locations to obtain five certifying documents. A Mrs Ding of Nancheng went to two government offices, and then gave up. In one week she had to ask for time off from work four times, each time losing a half day of work. Many household heads had to request three absences from their job, and many could not complete the application process because of difficulty in obtaining leave from work.

Therefore, many netizens have made an appeal that the process this year be simplified.

Government response

An official on the city Bureau of Education said, the Supplemental Explanation issued last year in the 6th month describes how the process has been simplified for the convenience of New Dongguaners. If the New Dongguaner applicant prepares all the necessary documents and submits them at the town Education and Propaganda office, this office will act as the applicant’s representative and complete any remaining procedures for them. In this way, the applicant can complete their part of the application in one visit.

Further, the Education Department has published a handbook to acquaint New Dongguaners with the policy and provide convenient information on the procedures to apply for school in a timely manner. With this is hand, they can understand what is required at an early date, and when they return to their hometown they can know beforehand what documents they need to collect. This will insure that in 2010 the application process will go smoothly.

Two Good Recommendations

In recent years, on the net a number of persons in the education field have recommended that the best way to spread out the resources to extend to more non-native workers is by the use of an “education voucher.” Because money is allotted in the education budget according to the system of permanent residency, the nation and local governments have to implement ad hoc tuition waivers and extra charges to those attending a certain school on a temporary basis. Those areas which have absorbed a large amount of non-native workers believe the government should provide the extra money for their education budgets through a special fund, but they have no means of calculating in advance exactly how much they will need. Therefore, no matter how the budget is set up, there is no guarantee that the children of these non-native workers will have access to public education in a fair and impartial manner.

[konjaku note: if the government uses the permanent residency records as its data in determining the education budget, in theory it allots money to the migrant worker’s hometown, where his or her permanent residence is, rather then to the city where the migrant worker actually lives as a temporary resident and where he wants his children to go to school. If the government switched to education vouchers, instead of supplying funds to schools, the government would provide to qualified families an education voucher equal to a full or partial tuition. They could then take this voucher to the school of their choice.]

In the long term, the solution is to accelerate the transformation of the permanent residence system, and to reduce the emphasis on that system in determining the education budget. But since this must advance at a gradual pace, in the short term the option of the education voucher offers the best solution.

At present, the nation is increasing the education budget, and the whole country is moving toward a free public education system. This is a good time to put into practice the education voucher system. In this way the school would receive funds based on the actual number of students.

Good Recommendation #2

Some netizens have proposed: since there will always be a limited number of places in the pre-existing state subsidized schools, can the government put up the capital to build new public schools?

A senior person in the education department said, building new schools for New Dongguaner children is just not possible. Suppose they built a new school that would hold 2000 students, in order for all 400,000 New Dongguaner children to have a place, they would need to build 200 schools.This would a be huge investment by the government. Since the New Dongguaner population is liquid and mobile, there is no guarantee that in 10 or 20 years from now the current number of 400,000 will be sustained. On the other hand, at present there are privately run schools with an enrollment of 390,800, which is equal to more than half the total student population. Rather than build more public schools, the government should buy places for students at the privately run schools. These schools may be inferior, but they have latent potentiality, Already in 2008, Guangzhou city proposed this after studying the issue. This increased the number of temporary resident students receiving a public education for free.

Which persons without the total credits can apply:

1. If they have a residence permit in Guangdong province, have lived in our city and paid social security for five years, and have steady employment.

2. If they are personnel who have received a preferential treatment policy from the city government, including:

1)They have a Guangdong province residence permit valid for three years or more, given to them by the Province as a person of qualified ability

2) They have an ID card identifying them as persons of ability specially invited to Dongguan city

3) they are disabled servicemen

4) are recognized as outstanding contributors to the nation

The Credit System

Application sequence: The Bureau of Education announces the situation regarding school applications (5th month) — applicants submit their materials (5th to 6th month) — credits are calculated, each town puts out its roster of those admitted (7th month) –school attendance is settled

The 9 items of credit and their respective value

Degree of culture (academic record) 30 points

Technical occupational skill, including qualification from the National Occupational Skill Testing Authority 30 points

Number of years employed in Dongguan 30 points

Paying into social security 30 points

Housing conditions 20 points

Family planning 10 points

Investment in local business or income tax paid 30 points

Participation in volunteer services 10 points

Children currently attending school in Dongguan 10 points

These nine items make a total of 200 points. Depending on how many points the applicant has in each item, the total is calculated.

Addition or deductions of points:

Addition: if applicant has received a commendation from Dongguan city or town within Dongguan. 10 points for each commendation, not to exceed 30 points

Deduction: In the past subject to reeducation through labor, or involved in criminal matter, 20 points deducted for each case, not to exceed 30 points.

konjaku: From a blog:

The child is the future of the nation, and that upon which the father and mother place all their hopes. Without resentment or regret the parents sacrifice themselves for their child, but the Temporary Measure and the Provisional Plan affect the nerves of countless parents, who cannot give up on finding a way for their children to attend school. Why did they leave their native place? Why did they bring their family along? In order for their children to grow up in a healthy place and receive the nine year free education. However, the Temporary Measure and the Provisional Plan imposes a high threshold from which the New Dongguaners recoil. The dreams woven during all their years in Dongguan are shattered. Their sense of pride in one moment collapses down to nothing. Their disappointment is like falling into a bottomless pit.

As for you innocent children, because of these rules and regulations you do not attend school. Your destiny should not be bound to whether your parents are eminent or humble. If your parents are of low standing, you cannot seek knowledge. In terms of the Temporary Measure and the Provisional Plan, everyone is equal: but the superior are admitted, the inferior are eliminated. You are not destined to receive a state subsidized education, what damage does this do to your spirit?

Was it all due to some mistake on the part of your parents? They had no upper level academic record, they did not reside anywhere permanently, they did not contribute enough money…

New Dongguaners, for the sake of your children and the future, do not just accept this pain —

konjaku: As of June 2010, the school application process for New Dongguaners for the upcoming school year has ended. The following two articles summarize the results.

Guangzhou Daily 2010-05-25

Reporter Zhang Yingyan

It is the Last Week for New Dongguaners to Apply for State subsidized Schools — the Situation in Each School District is very Different

Some towns calculated in advance they would have several hundred applicants, but have received only 20 or 30 completed applications. In other towns the number of applicants far exceeds the places available. An Education Bureau government cadre said, it is unlikely that any change in the rules will be made to correct this disequilibrium. Instead, the unfilled places will be given to applicants from special groups.

In Nancheng town they have set aside 80 places for New Dongguaner children. “Every day many people come and seek advice, but those who have actually completed the application process up to now, have been just 30 or so.” It is the same in many other towns. Hue Jie town has 383 places, but only 80 people have turned in complete applications. A cadre at the Propaganda and Education Bureau said, in principle they can only accept complete applications. They are willing to offer pointers to applicants on how to complete the process.

“This week is the peak of the application process, and we firmly believe applications will rise steeply.” Some towns do not have enough places. Humen has set aside 1000 places, the most of any town, but it has 700 applicants for first grade alone, more than they planned for. “The competition for these spots will be fierce” said a town official.

Why can’t the disparity between demand and places available be adjusted? Each town makes its own estimate on how many students it will accept, and these decisions cannot be modified. The unfilled places will be given to special groups. These groups include those who have a signed agreement with a town before the Provisional Plan was enacted, or the children of Taiwanese businessmen who have invested in Dongguan.

The Period for New Dongguaners to Apply their Children to State subsidized Schools has Ended — in Some School Districts, there are Unfilled Places.

Nanfang Daily, reporter Xiang Xuan

On the one hand, New Dongguaners have complained that the spaces offered them in state subsidized schools are too few. On the other hand, many schools are embarrassed to find they have not enough applicants.

This year the Dongcheng town school district offered 120 places to New Dongguaners, 100 places in the elementary school, 10 in the early middle school. As of yesterday, 44 had come to apply. Among these, 30 had applied to the elementary school, and 14 to the early middle school. The elementary school needed 80 more applicants, the early middle school had 4 too many.

The situation is similar in Chang’an town, where many people are from somewhere else. Taking the demand into consideration, this town offered more than 500 places to New Dongguaner children. But the applications number 300 for elementary school, and only 90 for early middle school.

According to the Dongguan Assistant Director of the Bureau of Education Wang Renhuai, many New Dongguaner Heads of Household made a mistake in thinking the threshold was too high, therefore they gave up on applying. This is a common misperception. Actually, since last year the only requirements are the basic ones, to be in accord with family planning, etc. “One only needs one credit to apply.”

Although the final statistics on New Dongguaner school applications have not come out yet, the Education Bureau has said that those school districts that have many empty slots, can relax the rules, and give away the unfilled places to other applicants who fall in special categories. However, towns which take this step must first get the consent of the Education Bureau. They cannot make the decision themselves. These other applicants consist of the children of overseas Chinese, or those who made special arrangements with the city before the Provisional Plan went into effect. However, New Dongguaner families with credits will be given first priority.

konjaku: If these articles are accurate, there are not only not enough spaces in the public, state-subsidized schools, but the government would have to build and staff 200 new schools to accommodate every applicant. These articles take for granted that private schools are not well funded or of adequate quality (although doubtless there are exceptions).Therefore the government is forced to create a system in which certain groups get priority to enter public school. They chose to give “credits” to those New Dongguaners who are already in a more advantageous situation, that is, to parents with a higher level of education, owning their own homes and possibly their own businesses. This is well understood by the blogger, who says, ”[Attending school] should not be bound to whether [ ] parents are eminent or humble.” Only the family planning requirement applies to everyone, and this obviously disqualifies a number of families, as we saw in “counter-attack#2.” The government made the requirements too stringent, and in many schools was left with not enough applicants.

To conclude, two new Dongguaners sum up their feelings about how Dongguan has changed since they first arrived,. Both mention the fact that, starting in 2007, motorcycles were banned from streets in Dongguan.The first is a high school student, the second, an older man:


I am a new Dongguaner, and I love Dongguan!

From a Huanan shi da jia ma school student. [Huanan shi da jia ma school is a prestigious school with an international section. It was founded privately but receives government support]

Dongguan is like a bright pearl set in our country’s southern regions. One can truly say it is entirely different from what it used to be.

I am a new Dongguaner. When I first came to Dongguan, the streets were filled with garbage. There were no tall buildings or trees. The air was so smelly people covered their noses. However after years of hard effort and reform, Dongguan can be called a civilized city. More and more, I love Dongguan!

Previously the economy was poor, and few could afford to buy a car. Looking around, one saw only bicycles and motorcycles. The few cars there were were pitiful. Today, it is so much different! Now that motorcycles are forbidden, the the city has been transformed. There are many more cars. The economy is better, even for new Dongguaners. At New Year’s, the city buzzed with excitement!

Several years ago, when my family came here, the streets were bumpy, narrow, and so crowded with people it was hard to breathe. The summer days were scorching, and there were no trees to provide shade, only weeds creeping across the road surfaces.

Now I walk along a broad street, and feel the fresh breeze. The summer days are still hot, but there are many large trees and green grass, and I don’t need to worry about finding some shade. Dongguan resembles a beautiful, kind mother, who nurtures us, and in whose embrace we grow to maturity. I love my “mother” — this beautiful, green city, all day humming with business, and at night, filled with intoxicating passions!

I came to Dongguan 16 years ago. It’s environment has improved, it has developed into a handsome city, winning both international and national awards. The roads are spacious, and the cars on them are of a better class. This is the result of good policy implemented by Dongguan city. But the cost of this transformation has been partially borne by us “New Dongguaners.” I saved for two years bit by bit to buy a motorized bicycle, only to see them banned. I was forced to dismantle the electric battery and change it into a bicycle. Good thing I didn’t know how to drive a motorcycle, or I would have scrimped and saved even longer for something which would only become a worthless heap of scrap metal. Now I am older, my health complaints have multiplied, I must pay over 500 yuan for medical expenses each month, all at my own expense. The truth is, I have a chronic illness –now I only wait for death. Do I think I will become a native Dongguaner? Maybe in the next life.

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