“China declared that it will provide household registration permits (known as a hukou in Chinese) to around 13 million unregistered people.”
In China, people get a hukou depending on where they live. Hukou gives Chinese citizens access to health services and schooling for their children. There has been a lot of debate about this permits system, as rural-to-urban migrants find it really hard to get it in their new place of residence. Approximately 13 million Chinese don’t have any kind of registration. Neither in the city they were born, nor in the city where they work. One of the main reasons is that they were born breaking the one-child policy and their families couldn’t afford paying the fine that came with it. The central Government in China realizes all the problems that the hukou system has caused. That’s why they’re willing to change it. According to Xinhua, the official news agency: “It is a basic legal right for the Chinese citizens to lawfully register for hukou. Every citizen’s right to hukou should be protected in accordance with the law”. Although the one-child policy seems to be the single factor most to blame, there are also many orphans and homeless people that have lost their hukous. Technically, there’s no intention of changing the current policy, since the hukou law isn’t tied to family planning, and every Chinese person has “always” been entitled to have a hukou. But reality has been quite different than what the law states. It seems that everybody is pleased with this reform, but the local officials, who use the hukou to bribe and extort from poor rural families who disobeyed the one-child policy, could end up still denying them their citizen’s right.