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Urban-rural Split Must End
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It is time to reform the household registration system in the country, says a commentary in Beijing News. An excerpt follows:

In an online survey conducted by the social research center of China Youth Daily, 91.7 percent of those surveyed think it necessary to reform the current permanent residence registration system. Though there may be a margin of error, the high agreement rate, to a certain degree, suggests a matured public ground for the reform.

The public opinion poll agrees with the conclusion of the government research. After thorough study in 12 provinces and municipalities last year, the six research teams established by 14 ministries and departments think it is time to reform the household registration system.

China's household registration system came into being in the mid-1950s. It divided the population into urban and rural groups and gave different rights and welfare to each. Residents were not allowed to migrate freely.

Large numbers of the rural population have entered the cities and contributed to the urban development in the past few decades but these people cannot gain legal status as urban residents. The government's relief measures mainly take care of low-income urban residents but the rural poor and those rural laborers working in cities cannot enjoy the benefits.

A harmonious society cannot accept such a serious division of rights and social welfare. The situation should be changed.

The reform of the household registration system is actually a redistribution of rights and interests.

(China Daily March 2, 2007)

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