China Daily reported on Friday (Feb 18th) that in Beijing, children who do not have Beijing hukou, residency permit, will receive free physical examinations throughout 2011.
This brings us to the issue of the “Hukou” meaning “residency permit.”
A Hukou 户口 or Huji 户籍 refers to the system of residency permits which dates back to ancient China, where household registration is required by law in People’s Republic of China and Republic of China (Taiwan). It officially identifies information such as a person’s place of residence, name, parents, spouse, and date of birth.
In big cities like Beijing, this Hukou is a hot issue; because it can determine where you live, where you can work and more. People from all over China move to Beijing to find work — it is THE city, after all. With a Beijing hukou, you can choose your preferred job freely, you can get welfare/social security benefits like Beijingers and most importantly, you can buy a government subsidized house. In China, stability and security is number one, and much like anywhere else, this starts with owning a home. The hukou applies to education, too — Beijingers’ kids can attend a local primary school without paying any “extra” fees that non-Beijingers do.
There are a few solutions to this problem :
1) New graduates can try to find jobs with the national ministries or State-owned enterprises, which typically offer a hukou to their hires. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to land those jobs. Successful applicants must excel in many rounds of exams and interviews. However, the trade-off with accepting the job might be a 5- or 10-year contract. The penalty for breaching those contracts is high.
2) Those who yearn for a hukou can buy one. Sales are illegal yet quite prevalent, particularly before the annual college graduation season. Sellers can be found on the Internet bulletin board systems (BBS) of universities in Beijing. They usually obtain hukous from companies that are qualified to offer them but not good enough to attract top job applicants.
3) Those not graduating this year can invest in Beijing to procure a local hukou. In Beijing, the owner of a certain-scale private enterprise can get a hukou, but normally this can cost more than 8 million yuan ($1.2 million). People with that kind of money usually don’t need the Beijing hukou, of course. Individuals of more modest means can invest in a suburban area, normally at a cost of 250,000 to 500,000 yuan.
4) Marrying a Beijinger is an easy way to get a hukou. As long as the spouse owns property in Beijing, the non-resident partner will get a hukou automatically after five to eight years of marriage.
5) Heroism is an odd and little-used route to the Beijing hukou. It’s tricky, even dangerous, but those who undertake heroic deeds in Beijing have been awarded the permit. For example, several workers who fended off thieves plundering national treasures were offered the Beijing hukou. But authorities caution that people should think twice before risking their safety.
6) Some people try to get a Beijing hukou by pretending to be overseas returnees with the help of certain overseas education agencies. According to a report by the Legal Mirror, an agency in Zhongguancun, Haidian district, can help clients get an authentic diploma from a state college in the Philippines, after paying 120,000 yuan for tuition. Overseas returnees can get a Beijing by finding a job, buying a house or starting a business.