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Residence Policy Farsighted

The soon-to-be introduced residence permit system will bring more non-native residents under its canopy. This new move sets a good example for cities that hold hostile policies for in-flow population, said an article in Legal Daily. An excerpt follows:

Shanghai was the first city to initiate the residence permit system, and is now pioneering reforms of the system.

The new policy specifies that from October 1, not only the "brought-in elites" but all non-native residents who have a stable profession and residence can apply for a resident's permit.

As the most densely populated mega-city, Shanghai presently has more than 17 million permanent residents, of which 3.83 million people are non-native.

This burgeoning population has placed great pressure on housing, transportation, education and social security.

Despite the strains imposed, Shanghai continues to embrace more newcomers. And this latest move has greatly enhanced people's trust and admiration for the city.

The ever-deepening opening-up reforms have shaken the existing household registration system which had seriously blocked the free flow of population.

Some large and medium-sized cities claim they have long been encouraging the free flow of people.

However, their doors are only open to those elites who can bring in innovation and business investors who can bring in capital.

For ordinary people, these doors are seemingly open, yet at the same time, another invisible door is blocking them out - discrimination.

Shanghai's newly-revised residence permit system has granted all non-native people equal "citizen treatment."

Intensifying population pressure is sure to come, but there are also a lot of reciprocal benefits.

For example, in-flow people with different educational backgrounds and technical skills will bring vitality and innovative ideas to the city, making Shanghai a successful "melting-pot" model for other metropolises in China.

After years of opening-up and reform, Shanghai is becoming a leading city that embraces new residents from around the world.

It is wise for Shanghai to adopt a friendly policy towards those from outside, a move which can only result in gains. Hopefully, other cities will follow suit and make China a harmonious and successful "melting pot."

(China Daily September 13, 2004)

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