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Credit system to residency: “induced to come, induced to leave”

May 15, 2014

Public Security Ministry: those who want to become residents in especially large cities must pass through a credit system, they must be patient



Source Renmin net

As Renmin net reported on 03-19 (Qiao Xuefeng, Hao Shuai), the New National Urbanization Plan states that in especially large cities with a population over 5,000,000, the population will be strictly controlled. Does this mean that those workers who left their homes and have lived for a long time in Beijing [19 million], Shanghai[23 million] or Guangzhou[14 million] have no hope of becoming permanent residents? Public Security Vice-Minister Huang Ming responded at a press briefing on 03-19, that they will need to carry out a reform and total revision of the household registry system, and use a credit or qualification system, that an individual can acquire residency status by “going up the ladder,” assembling credits. This system will be carried out transparently, impartially and in an orderly manner. It will go rationally and at an appropriate pace. For those who have the dream of living in a large city, it might be better to settle for a small to middle-sized city. If they choose the large city, they will need a good mental attitude and patience to achieve the qualifications necessary. Once the central government and State Council have heard opinions, examined and approved the registry reform, that will be the time to delve into more detail about how the system will work.

Huang Ming stated that the population is in disequilibrium, with migrants densely gathered in very large cities. For instance in Beijing, from 2000 to 2012, the migrants that have come to the city number 5,170,000, with 430,000 more arriving every year. During the same12 years, in Shanghai 530,000 have arrived each year and in Guangzhou 430,000, in Shenzhen 560,000. The pressure on the resources of these cities is great, and the burden on them must decrease. Therefore it is important to set limits.

Huang Ming indicated that in the especially large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, etc., setting limits to the population is just one of a series of measures to make the demographic structure of these cities more efficient. Some people will be induced to come to the city, others will be induced to leave, causing the demographic structure to become more scientific and rational. This will ultimately benefit the economic development of these cities.


In especially large cities, “credit system to residency” expected to be swiftly implemented


Source: The Beijing News (XinJing Bao)


In pushing forward the “credit system to residency” system, we must put impartiality first. We should not only give credits to some just for having an academic record, or to those who have fulfilled certain economic indicators, such as purchasing their own house, or paid significant taxes. The requirements should perhaps not be unalterable, but based on need, as determined by the state of the city’s available resources and public services, and to be adjusted over time.

The New Urbanization plan [released 2014-03-16] not only calls for the loosening of restrictions to obtain permanent residency in small towns, but also in large and medium sized cities. Large to medium sized cities can make the requirement that applicants for permanent residency have paid into the urban social security system for a certain number of years, but they cannot set the limit at more than five years. Especially large cities can regulate and control the pace and scale of granting residency through establishing a credit system in which applicants move up a ladder toward the goal.

In reform of the residency system, the especially large cities face the largest difficulties. Bearing the weight of the every expanding population, they cannot coordinate needs and tasks to reach a higher level of development. Instead traffic jams, air pollution, and a strained housing market make up the “urban disease” under which they suffer. The New Urbanization Plan initiates the “credits to residency system” for the first time on a national scale, to confront head-on the population problem of especially large cities.

We should mention that the credit to residency system is not a new thing. Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Shanghai have already launched  pilot programs. In the program Guangzhou launched in 2011, one condition is “paid social security tax in Guangzhou for a period of at least one year” and “having a junior middle school record [grades 7-9, endpoint of compulsory education] or above.” Last year Shenzhen abolished the education requirement. In addition, if an applicant ever won a prize for some technical ability, acquired a patent for an invention, participated as a volunteer worker in some social service capacity, or even donated blood, these activities all earn credits. Shanghai’s system is stricter in its requirements for an academic record, and in tax payments.

The credit systems of Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Shanghai are not perfect, and have even led to various types of disputes, but when all is said and done this system allows there to be a tiny opening in the monolithic fortress of permanent registry, letting some migrants float in, and achieve their dream of settling in the city. By today’s standards of reform, the systems of these three cities seem conservative. The New Urbanization plan clearly urges on the credit to residency system, and the especially large cities should draw from the experiences of the past, and quickly bring their own systems into existence.

Of course, it is necessary to be impartial above all. Each applicant is different, let them count each individual’s strong points to realize his or her dreams. The system should adjust and respond to the applicant’s appeal.

The credit system will be a challenge for administrators of the especially large cities. To satisfy the impatient desires of the applicants by deepening reform of the residency system, while at the same time facing up to the limits to the capacity of the city to absorb too many migrants, striking some sort of balance between the two, will require a huge effort.

Bi Ge (media person)

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