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Free movement of people
( 2003-12-09 09:44) (Xinhua)

A law on household register management is being drafted to create conditions for free movement and settlement of people 25 years after China launched the reform, opening-up and modernization drive.

The ministry of Public Security is working on the draft, according to the General Office of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

The new law, which has been pushed by the public, the media and NPC deputies, is expected to replace the existing provisions on residence registration adopted by the NPC Standing Committee in 1958.

The outdated mode for household register management can no longer meet the demand of a swiftly-changing society, where rural residents move into cities in large numbers, small towns spring up across the country; and a uniform system of household register management seems imminent.

For the past decades, urbanites and villagers in China have been treated very differently in almost all aspects of life. It has been difficult for rural residents to settle in cities and their children to enjoy schooling the same way as urban children.

Transient rural laborers working and living in cities often fall victims to unscrupulous officials and criminal gangs. Transients have become one of the most vulnerable groups in the country. Children from transient families account for a major part of the school dropouts in cities.

In recent years, people from different circles have been pushing hard to abolish the old residence registration system and to replace it with a law that could secure people's rights for free movement and settlement.

During the First Session of the 10th NPC, 34 deputies tabled a joint proposal on drafting the law. Meanwhile, a series of media reports on the maltreatment of migrant workers in some cities have aroused the attention of the central leadership.

In fact, the State Council, or China's Cabinet, has issued a series of documents on improving the residence registration management system. In some provinces, local governments have given rural and urban residents equal status and rights of citizenship. All this has created favorable conditions for the drafting of a national law on the issue.

The npc Committee for Internal and Judicial Affairs, which sees it a necessity to have a law on household register management, has suggested the draft law be submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for deliberation soon.

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