China Mulls Registering 13 Million 'Ghost Citizens'
China is considering registering its tens of millions of people who lack a hukou, or household registration, which would mark a historic solution to a decades-old problem.
According to a national census in 2010, there were at least 13 million people who did not officially exist in China since they did not have a hukou.
Experts have explained that many people are in this situation because they have lost the official record of their hukou in the process of moving around the country and did not attempt to reregister. A large number of them, however, lack a hukou because they were children born in violation of the one-child family planning policy, according to State-owned news site gmw.cn.
According to a guideline reviewed at a Saturday conference of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), policies will be issued to solve the problem posed by the massive population without hukou. Authorities will also establish a new type of hukou system to "safeguard people's interests" and "lay a sound foundation to further push forward modernization of governance," the Nanfang Daily reported Tuesday.
The guideline added that receiving a hukou is a basic right granted by the Constitution and other laws, noting that it is related to social justice, harmony and stability, China Business News reported.
According to the household registration regulation established in 1958, all babies should be allowed a registration without having to meet additional conditions.
In 1988, the MPS and National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) jointly released a regulation prohibiting local governments from linking household registration with the issuance of a certificate showing payment of the social maintenance fee for additional children or other family planning policy records.
However, some local authorities still demand that such documents be issued before allowing families to register additional children, previous media reports have said.