A System impediment for farmer’s growth - Hukou

11/19/2019

Nov,19: Part of the problem can also be traced to China's Hukou system. This is a family registration programme (serves like a domestic passport) and regulates distribution of population and rural-to-urban migration in China. Essentially, Hukou started in the late 1950s, is a tool for social and geographic control that enforces an ‘apartheid’ structure that denies farmers the same rights and benefits enjoyed by urban residents across China. The Hukou system has historically, always benefited the urban population. Because of this divide, poor farmers became more poor and riches gained fortune.
Recall that during the Great Famine (1959-1961), individuals with rural Hukou were collectivized into communal farms, where much of their agricultural output was taken in the form of a tax by the Chinese state and given to city dwellers. This led to massive starvation in the countryside and the Great Leap Forward was not abolished until the effects were felt in the cities.
After the Great Famine, rural residents continued to be marginalized, while urban citizens enjoyed a range of socio-economic benefits. This situation has not changed much over the years and even now (in 2019), a farmer's income is only one-sixth of the average urban dweller. Farmers in China have to pay three times more in taxes, but receive a lower standard of education, healthcare, and life. The Hukou system, has thus impeded upward mobility, creating a caste system that governs Chinese society.