China will provide unregistered citizens with household registration permits, a crucial document entitling them to social welfare, according to a high-level reform meeting.
In China, various social benefits, such as medical insurance and access to basic education, are based on permits known as hukou that are supposed to correlate with long-term places of work and residence.
“It is a basic legal right for Chinese citizens to lawfully register for hukou. It’s also a premise for citizens to participate in social affairs, enjoy rights and fulfill duties,” said a statement released on Dec 9 after a meeting of the central leading group for comprehensively deepening reform. The meeting was presided over by President Xi Jinping.
China has around 13 million unregistered people, or 1 percent of the entire population. They include orphans and second children born illegally during the period of strict enforcement of the one-child policy, the homeless and those who have yet to apply for hukou or who have lost their document.
Those parents who violated family planning policy often refrained from getting hukou for their children in order to avoid fines.
The meeting was told that registration should take place regardless of family planning and other policy limits, and that those without hukou who face difficulties in applying should have their problems solved.
“The number of people without hukou, their distribution and causes should be made clear ... and every citizen’s right to hukou should be protected in accordance with the law,” the statement said.
It was emphasized that hukou registration should be coordinated with family planning, adoption, aid for the homeless and nationality management.