On Oct 1, as part of the reform of China’s residency system, Beijing began issuing residence certificates, ending the 31-year policy of temporary “stay cards” for residents without a Beijing hukou.
On the morning of Oct 1, a resident of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province surnamed Zhang, visited a police station in the Xicheng district and handed in an application form along with his ID materials, according to report by China National Radio.
The entire process took about 15 minutes and in 15 days, Zhang may be among the first group of people to obtain a Beijing residential certificate under the new policy.
For many years, citizens’ rights were related to hukou, the government system of household registration which officially identifies a person as a resident of a specific area.
Local governments in provinces or cities in certain areas provide different rights to citizens, based on whether they have hukou. For many years, the Beijing municipal government issued temporary residence certificates to people without hukou who were studying, working or living in the Chinese capital to make their stay more convenient.
However, people without hukou still faced inconveniences in obtaining hospital treatment, applying for driver’s licenses and benefiting from social security insurance.
To help people such as these to better enjoy the city’s public services, the Beijing government decided to start issuing residence certificates to replace the temporary stay cards.
Zhang Chewei, head of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the new policy is a big step toward providing equal public service to all residents of the city.
“Even though the ones who get the residence certificate still can’t obtain exactly the same services compared with local citizens, the new system has already provided more key services compared with the old one,” he said.
Under the policy, people who have stayed in Beijing for more than six months can apply for the residence certificate, but they will have to meet one of three conditions: He or she must have a stable job for the following six months at least, or have a stable place of residence for more than six months or be studying at official schools or institutions in the city.