2010: More Martyrs, more Permanent Residents

China’s laws and regulations can often be confusing, writes China Daily. There are several small changes to laws regulating security guards. If one dies on duty, they will be honored with the official title of martyr, usually reserved for those the government says have died for justice. Second, security guards are banned from performing body searches or using violence.

A regulation that may change more peoples’ lives and status is Guangdong’s Provincial Service Management Regulation on Migrant Population (广东省流动人口服务管理条例), which comes into effect all over the province on January 1, after it had been tested in Shenzhen for a year. Tens of millions may bid their current transitional status in Guangdong goodbye and become permanent residents, writes Southern Metropolis Daily (南方都市报). The kind act (善举) doesn’t yet amount to a household registration reform (户籍改革), but is a step into the ideal direction, believes the paper, as it indicated the provincial government’s changing concept.

51 years ago, New China stipulated the policy that citizens who temporarily live in a city outside their regular city or district for more than three days had to carry out temporary residence registration. In 1985, given a strong current of work migration into Guangdong in the wake of the reform policies, the public security office (公安部) issued the Interim Provisions on the Management of Temporary Urban Residency (关于城镇暂住人口管理的暂行规定). The status of migrant workers was that of temporary residence. They weren’t included in the province’s GDP statistics, and they had no entitlement to governmental services. Outsiders also criticized the temporary residence permit (暂住证) as a money machine (敛财的工具) for some departments, as some cities charged several hundred Yuan RMB per temporary residence permit, and another Defense of Law and Order fee of 158 Yuan RMB was charged in Guangzhou in 2001.

The Southern Metropolis Daily suggests that the case of Sun Zhigang (孫志剛) in 2003 helped to speed up the reform of temporary residence in Guangdong. The Southern Metropolis Daily doesn’t go into details, and doesn’t mention its own role in investigating Sun Zhigang’s case (which apparently led to massive revenge by the local authorities against its editors Cheng Yizhong and Yu Huafeng).

During the new regulations’ test period in Shenzhen, Professor Zheng Xinzhen (郑梓桢), head of the Guangdong Provincial Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Sociology and Demographic Studies, said that permanent residence was a rational reform, but only a beginning, and its bonus could be applied more broadly.

Southern Metropolis Daily also addresses the question if Guangdong Province has the financial resources to live up to the new regulation’s promises. The article believes that as the first ground for the reform policies, with the highest incomes in China, Guangdong should be able to afford education to the migrants children, and make them a force in building the province. Besides, without proper education, the new generation after the initial migrants could become destabilizing factors.


Household Registration System – a Personal Opinion, September 11, 2009

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