The original Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Administration of the Entry and Exit of Foreigners clarifies the concepts of settlement and permanent residence.
Previously, China mainly offered residency - settlement - to people who wished to be reunited with their families.
Permanent residence mainly concerned foreign high-level talents and those who had made a unique contribution to the Chinese people.
However, as a legal concept, there is not much difference between permanent residence and settlement and, in practice, those who were granted settlement and permanent residence enjoyed the same rights.
Therefore, the authorities decided there was no need to make a distinction between settlement and permanent residence - and China thus now only uses the concept of “permanent residence in China,” and issues only Permanent Residence Permits.