Guangdong is to take the lead in reforming the moribund residence system by allowing peasants to obtain residence permits in small townships. Governor Lu Ruihua said the reform was essential to accelerate the urbanisation of the province, which was planning to have half its population living in urban areas within 10 years. The Government will allow peasants to move to small townships where they will be entitled to the extensive social welfare enjoyed by urban dwellers. Mr Lu said the Government was aware of the social burden involved and plans had been drawn up. 'Apart from expenditure on public facilities, there are other [burdens] such as social welfare, employment, residence management and family planning,' the Nanfang Daily quoted Mr Lu as saying. He said the provincial Government would allow peasants with stable jobs and accommodation to apply for residence in townships. It would formulate policies on housing, employment and social welfare for the migrants. Mr Lu said the Government would ensure there were 'green zones' to keep the pace of urbanisation under control, and would maintain law and order. The mainland is under pressure to accelerate the pace of urbanisation and give peasants full status of city dwellers in view of its imminent entry to the WTO. Academics have been calling for relaxation of the obsolete urban residence system, as peasants will be hit hard by the influx of foreign agricultural goods after the mainland's entry to the WTO. Only by shifting reliance from agriculture to tertiary industry through urbanisation can the mainland prevent widespread social unrest in the countryside, they say.