Rules eased for city job seekers
By CHEUNG PO-LING
THE mobility of Chinese urban residents will be substantially enhanced next year as part of the nationwide drive to revamp the outdated household registration system.
The new policy, which comes into effect in January, aims to ease the restrictions for job seekers in cities, according to sources in Beijing.
City dwellers, who swarmed from inland to the richer coastal regions, will be able to apply for jobs and rights of residency by presenting their identity cards to the authorities.
In the past, they were required to return to the place where they registered their household to file the application. Such controls have imposed strict limitations for 40 years on where people could live and work.
The same set of measures would apply to people who wanted to study in other provinces, sources said.
Analysts said the new measures would facilitate the inter-regional and inter-provincial flow of urban workers which has accelerated since China began its economic reforms.
For instance, more than 50,000 professionals last year migrated from various parts of China to Zhuhai, in Guangdong.
In the next step, the Chinese authorities will abolish the distinction between agricultural and non-agricultural populations, which is rigidly drawn under the old household registration system.
Analysts said scrapping the distinction would encourage farmers to enter small towns to engage in various kinds of business, and would promote the development of small towns.
China has been dividing its populations into agricultural and non-agricultural since the 1950s to control the population growth in big cities.
People registered as members of the agricultural population could not get grain and non-staple food rations.
Neither could they be given housing and jobs in urban areas.
However, many rural people have become workers in industrial and service enterprises in nearby towns as a result of economic reforms.
Meanwhile, a senior Chinese official said yesterday rural enterprises would enjoy the same benefits as the state enterprises in order to promote their competitiveness in international business.
A dispatch from the China News Service said under the new policy, banks will offer loans to export-oriented rural enterprises with interest rates the same as those offered to state enterprises.
Rural enterprises will be able to import, tax-free, equipment and technology for their modernisation.
Like state enterprises, rural enterprises can import raw materials and spare parts for production without an official import permit.
The country has more than 20 million rural industrial enterprises among more than 19 million villages.
Polls conducted earlier this year in Guangzhou and Beijing showed that many workers in the cities had abandoned the security of state firms and joined privately run factories in villages.