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All Citizens Should Be Equal
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Various privileges should be disconnected from the residence registration system, says a signed article in Xiaoxiang Morning Post. An excerpt follows:

Chen Xiwen, deputy director of the Office of the Central Financial Work Leading Group, said at a press conference last Thursday that reform of the permanent residence registration system involves complicated interest relations and will be a gradual process.

He said that in the old planned economy, the permanent residence registration system was attached with many interest connections.

It is a unique Chinese phenomenon to have a permanent residence registration system hooked to so many interests. In the long-term, to better manage the population and maintain social order, China has strictly divided its permanent residence into two categories: agricultural and non-agricultural.

Under such a system, permanent residence registration is more than a presentation of identity but a guarantee of privilege to enjoy resources and interests. Many rights and interests issues, including employment, education, housing and medical treatment are associated with one's permanent residence.

The essence of our permanent residence registration system reform should be ensuring people's freedom of migration and their rights of equality, therefore realizing the country's overall development.

The basic functions of the permanent residence registration system are to prove citizens' identification and provide population data. The reform of our permanent residence registration system is to disconnect various kinds of interests from the residence registration and give it back the original look.

A complete and unified social security system is needed to give all citizens the same "national treatment."

(China Daily February 27, 2006)

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