Summary of The Push and Shove for Residency Rights in Beijing

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From a Western perspective, it’s hard to understand why an outstanding graduate of a renowned university would readily give up the chance to land a position in a top company with the prospect of a salary high above average. But in China – and especially in Beijing – a hukou – that is, the right for residency – is of greater importance than salary or position. Holding a hukou doesn’t only guarantee permanent residency rights, it also grants benefits such as retirement pensions, access to education, health care and eligibility to purchase real estate. Many observers describe the system as a major contributor to social and economic inequality and see a pressing need for reform. In their article, Caixin authors Huang Ziyi and Wang Mingting look at the current state of affairs through the eyes of two Beijing college graduates. getAbstract believes non-Chinese readers with little knowledge of this phenomenon will find this article interesting and insightful. 

About the Authors

Huang Ziyi and Wang Mingting are writers for Caixin, a Beijing-based media group that provides financial and business news and information through periodicals, online platforms, mobile apps, conferences, books and TV/video programs.



In 2018, many cities in China launched a “New Policy for Household Registration” in order to attract talented workers and to grow local economies. In Xi’an, for example, college graduates with a diploma and ID card can directly obtain a hukou – a permanent residency registration. Beijing’s administration, however, continues to guard its gates tightly for purposes of population control. In 2017, Beijing unveiled a points system for hukou applicants. You can apply if you hold a residence permit, haven’t reached retirement age, have contributed to Beijing’s social security system for seven years or more, and have no criminal record. Applicants can add up their scores across nine criteria to see if they are eligible for a hukou. The cutoff score is different each year depending on Beijing’s population numbers. 

The hukou system has affected the career choices of many Beijing graduates. Not many companies can offer hukou to their employees, and those that do have a limited quota per year. For this reason, graduates from China’s top universities will usually pass on attractive career opportunities if, instead, ...

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