The limitations of China's hukou reforms

China has finally abolished the most discriminatory aspect of its household registration system, but rural migrants still can't move freely from the countryside to mega-cities.

Since 1958, China has been operating a quasi-apartheid system, which is known officially as hukou – the household registration system that divides the population into two classes of citizens. Urban residents enjoy a myriad of benefits, from social welfare to subsidised health care, while rural residents are discriminated against and are not allowed to settle permanently in cities.

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