Some thoughts on China's Hukou system - Politics | PoFo

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Like many cities in the United States, China has a problem with some of its star cities being overcrowded since so many people from other areas want to move there for better paying jobs.

In a Communist country like China they have a simple solution: the Hokou system.
It basically gives special privileges to those already living there to continue living there, while those from other areas are not permitted to live there. It's like an immigration control system within a country.

In recent decades with the booming economy, as peasants have been pouring in from the countryside to work in these cities, the government has mostly declined to enforce the system. The people from other provinces are still not entitled to public benefits or education for their children. This has effectively created a group of second class citizens living in these big city areas in Eastern China.

Could you imagine if the United States did this? In almost any other country that would result in children growing up without an education, but not in China. Chinese parents highly value education and know their children may have a difficult time surviving without one. Even the poor in China do whatever it takes to make sure their child gets an education. These migrant workers who lack a Hukou permit are at a disadvantage because they have to pay for their children's education out of their own pocket. This often takes place at small private schools, since the children are not eligible to go to public schools in the area.
Very few migrant laborers bring their children with them. There are some unregistered children without a hukou, but this isn't a problem of migrant labor - rather families trying to get out of punishment for breaching the one child policy by having secret unregistered home births. It primarily affects women from 1980s-2010s (and incidentally is why the gender gap in China is overreported).
Fasces wrote:Very few migrant laborers bring their children with them.

But the migrants might have children after they migrate.

I know Chinese women are far more responsible than many other ethnicities, but you know sometimes women do find themselves pregnant, and abortion is not always the automatic answer for them.

These private schools for migrants would not exist if there were not migrants who had children.

The quality of education is equal or better in the public schools, so these families would not be sending their children to those private schools that cost money if they had Hukou residency permits.
Migrant labor is temporary. They live in a city for a year or two before returning home. Their children, if they have any, are usually cared for by family members at home. The existence of massive waves of undocumented children simply isn't a real problem in modern China.

Labor relations and sexism in China being what they are, a migrant woman who is married (or let's slip she's in a romantic relationship, frankly) and of child bearing age wouldn't be hired in the first place - and once sufficiently pregnant so as to begin to show, would probably be bought a ticket home by her employer ASAP (a couple hundred dollars at absolute most) to avoid having to cover maternity expenses, or months of maternity leave.

There's also the question of how she's get pregnant. Migrant workers tend to live in company dormitories, mind, which I've seen. They'll sleep twelve to a room, single sex, and generally have a company curfew / sign in. It's absolutely abhorrent and far from the sort of environment that encourages major amounts of sexual activity.

There is a subclass of undocumented humans in China unable to get an education or work because of hukou issues - and they're almost entirely all female children of rural Han families from the 80s-10s trying to have a boy under the one child policy. There's a lot of good documentaries and resources describing the issue.

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