___The second way is to join the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, who will move you to where you are needed, and therefor change your hukou. Hopefully you’ll work hard and eventually land up in a city. Unfortunately China in recent years has been scaling back recruitment for the army, and there’s also no guarantee you will land up in a city anyway.
___The third way is to join the Chinese Communist Party or CCP. This exclusive club is very difficult to enter. Other party members judge you for many years and watch your every move and word. They also research your family background, which usually gives urban dwellers an advantage. Again, there is no guarantee that the CCP will send you to work in a large city, but if you get in the likelihood is quite high.
___I cannot verify this fourth method, but it makes some sense. If a villager can somehow marry someone in a city, their hukou can be changed. Though not impossible, it is plausable.
China’s Growing Migrant Worker Population
___As China’s population increases, the number of people living in rural communities also increases. China’s farms have gotten to the point where more manual labour does not increase their crop yields and therefore income. Logically this means that to make a living, young people must leave their farming community in search of greener pastures. They there join the ranks of China’s migrant labour class, traveling to the cities in search of work. In the past 20 years there has been ample work opportunities in the southern coastal special economic zones or SEZ, in factories that made products for export. There is an estimated 130M migrant workers in China. Recently as many as 20M of these workers have been laid off from their factory jobs.
___What the hukou does for farmers and their children, is to tie them to the farm. Young people who cannot make a living on the farm and are forced to go to the city to find work still hold an rural hukou. In essence, they are illegally living in the city, thus exposing them to threats from police, work places, blackmail and worse. Company owners often cheat, not pay wages to or discriminate against migrant workers, who have little recourse.
Managers use a variety of tactics to prevent workers resigning. Internal migrants are typically owed back pay, meaning those who quit their job lose at least 2-3 months wages. Employers often purposefully withhold wages before the lunar new year to ensure workers come back to their jobs after the festive period — meaning millions of migrants are unable to buy train tickets home for the holidays. Managers often illegally force workers to pay a deposit to prevent them switching jobs. Because of their insecure status under the hukou system, internal migrants are not likely to complain.
One complaint to the police and they get a fine, and forced to take a one way trip back to their village. Housing is usually inferior. Work can be very dangerous, and with no additional health care. Workers who get hurt or killed cannot claim full compensation from their employer because they are migrant workers without an urban hukou. Young girls are more apt to be taken advantage of, preyed on because of their lack of hukou and therefore city social services. Children of migrant worker parents cannot get access to proper schooling.
Side Effects of the Hukou System
___A multitude of negative side effects have occurred because of this hukou system. Migrant workers are forced to leave their children in the village with their grandparents, maybe seeing their children only a couple of times a year. Husbands and wives are similarly separated and meet only a couple of times a year. In essence, the hukou system has made peaceful and happy family living impossible for China’s rural population.
___China’s migrant workers also live without worker’s rights and are taken advantage of by factory employers. While they are not indentured slaves, they can be forced to work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day, and may have to pay for room and board expenses back to their employer. In fact very little in the government will protect them from being taken advantage of by their employer. Many migrant workers get hurt in industrial accidents that result in amputation, injury and death. Workers who get hurt and cannot work are let go and face an uncertain future back on the farm. There are many more workers in line to replace the fallen.
Benefits of the Hukou System
___The hukou system allows China’s domestic and international factory owners to have an unlimited supply of inexpensive labour who lack the ability to protest unsafe work and living conditions. This allows China’s factories to offer the world less expensive products, while providing China with much needed foreign exchange. The world benefits from being offered very inexpensive but useful products from China.
___Migrant workers also benefit because are able to work, make a living, and provide for their families back on the farm. Income from migrant workers can more than double the income from farming, allowing the village and their families to prosper.
___Anyone who has purchased a product that is made in China has a near certainty that the product was made by a migrant worker. The world surely benefits from their fight for survival, but they pay a heavy social cost. China’s success has greatly benefited the urban worker at the expense of the rural worker, and this will not change for the foreseeable future. China’s hukou facilitates this system of migrant workers to the overall benefit of the People’s Republic of China.
the pros of the hukou (Beowulf) – because we never ever talk about them (the china discussion is general a blame and hate discussion without any depth)
I. the hukou system controls mass migration and therefore is helping to avoid the development of slums and its connected evils (crime rate, poverty etc.) in the big cities.
II. the hukou system forces the families of the worker to stay at their homeplace. This has two benefits:
Number one – migrant worker will return to their hometown and develop the rural area. Money, knowledge and experience which was earned at the east or south coast is coming this way to central China.
Number two – the rural country is also a insurance. The people with a country hukou have the right for farmland (the Chinese blogger we are talking about, wants to have the user right for farmland so that he can sell it later to a company for a high price). During world economic crisis, many migrant workers returned to their fields and could use them to get over this hard time. This is one of the reason, why the crisis did not have that disastrous effect on China, which many so called “experts” in the west predicted.
- Hire graduates without local hukou
- Hukou Reform Targets Urban-Rural Divide
- Strangers in the City: Reconfigurations of Space, Power, and Social Networks Within China’s Floating Population
- Deng Ray: Photojournalism on the Hukou System
- University Education = Hukou in China
- Rural College Student’s Household Registration Dilemma