As Interviewed by Darren T., April 4, 2018

J.C.: In Her Own Words

The China Hukou system is actually a modified version of household registration. A Hukou is a legal document that specifies which city, town, village you are resident. It limits where a person is allowed to live -- and it ties social benefits, like healthcare, and education.

Rural farmers don’t have same benefits and rights that urban residents have. The Hukou system effectively regulates population distribution and the rural-to-urban migration. Obtaining an official rural to urban Hukou change is very difficult, but it is still possible in a few ways. One, marriage; second, education; third, employment.

The Hukou system remains stable fundamentally in China although it is a direct cause of economic and social inequality. The removal of Hukou could lead to a massive migration that could affect a city’s infrastructures and the rural economy deeply.

As China’s economic power grows, lots of rural workers move to cities to get higher paid job without changing their Hukou. Their young children were left in the village to be taken care by grandparents. These children are called “liu shou er tong.” They usually suffer from psychological problems caused by the long-term separation from their parents.