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China to Eliminate Urban-Rural Division
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China is reforming its household registration system to gradually eliminate urban-rural division and bolster social equality, according to sources attending a national conference on public security yesterday.

Twelve provincial areas, including Hebei, Liaoning, Shandong, Guangxi as well as Chongqing Municipality, have launched trial reforms to stop the differentiation between rural and urban residents.

Beijing, Shanghai and some cities in Guangdong Province have eased restrictions forcing people from rural areas to change their identifications.

Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province also plans to institute a trial reform on the household registration system within the year.

Set up in 1958, China's household registration (hukou) system divides the population into rural and non-rural households, and individual rights such as education, healthcare, housing, and employment are closely linked with household registration.

Under the system, rural citizens have little access to the social welfare system in cities, although many have lived and worked in cities for years.

In recent years, China has witnessed a mass migration of rural labor to urban area, with more than 120 million migrant rural workers moving to cities in search of work.

(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2007)

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