Beijing student commits suicide for 'hukou'

Updated: 2008-01-07 23:14

BEIJING -- A desperate student of a senior Beijing  high school committed suicide Friday for being unable to register for the national college entrance exam for lack of "hukou", a residence registration identity and a prerequisite for the enrollment.

The 17-year-old girl gulped one to three grams of nitrite powder on the street after school on Friday, when an online registration system was opened to this June's matriculation candidates but she felt hopeless to be registered, the local evening newspaper Fazhi Wanbao reported on Monday.

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The girl, given an assumed name Lingling, was then immediately struck by terrible pain and unable to move, but fortunately she was rushed to hospital after being found by a classmate, the newspaper said.

Lingling was out of life danger, but still needed five to six days to discharge all the poison out of her body, the paper said.

The girl, however, seemed to have little, if any, chance as the online registration deadline of January 10 was approaching.

Lingling, an academically excellent student, was born out of wedlock, and her parents parted, according to the newspaper.

She lived with her father without hukou for 17 years. Her father, surnamed You, had had several different jobs over the past 17 years and in 1999, he was transferred from east China's Jiangsu Province to Beijing, working as a consultant in the municipal environmental protection bureau and obtaining a Beijing hukou himself.

But his daughter was denied of local residence registration as a natural child could not be given a hukou according to related regulations.

Mr. You was told that to give Lingling a hukou, he had to find Lingling's mother, who had been married, to marry her and then get divorced.

China's residence registration system, or "hukou" system, was introduced in 1958 and had direct bearings on education, employment and welfare.

For a quite long time, the system played a positive role for maintaining social stability. But over recent years when the society became more open and diversified, hukou sometimes becomes a major obstacle for people to enjoy education, employment and welfare rights.

The Ministry of Public Security is considering to reform the system but there is no detailed timetable.

The newspapers said it was still possible for Lingling to get a Beijing hukou if police authorities gave special approval according to a brand new regulation.

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