Beijing allows children of successful hukou applicants to take gaokao in capital
Zhang Yang Photo:
Eleven years after coming to Beijing, 38-year-old Zhang Yang finally became a real Beijinger, thanks to the point-based household registration, or hukou system, which has granted permanent resident status to over 6,000 applicants who have a stable job and housing in the capital city.

In 2018, Beijing for the first time implemented what’s believed to be a landmark policy, granting local hukou to 6,000 people hailing from other areas of China who have worked and paid taxes in the city for many years, in a move to push forward reform of the long-criticized household registration system.

Zhang Yang became one of the first batch of 6,019 people who got to settle down, and her child is entitled to take high school and college entrance exams in Beijing. “Obtaining permanent residence is not so important for adults, I believe all applicants are concerned (about their non-local status) for the sake of their kids,” Zhang told the Southern Weekly, a Guangzhou-based newspaper.

Based on China’s household registration regulations, students are only allowed to take college entrance exams where they have permanent residence. With different admission requirements for students in different provinces in China, many non-locals working in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou would eventually have to leave or separate with their kids in order for the latter to go back to their hometowns to enrol in local schools.

The Southern Weekly report said that the 6,019 lucky people who get to permanently settle down in the capital city are selected from around 124,000 applicants, among them, 90 percent are those born in the 1970s.

A point-based system means applicants ranking among the top 6,000 will have their application approved. Evaluations in terms of career, housing, educational background, employer, and honors and awards will decide an applicant’s scores. Zhang scored 92.33, slightly above the 90.75 threshold for this year. She believes a master’s degree had mainly led to her good luck. “I could gain 26 marks for my postgraduate degree while undergraduates could only get 15 points,” she explained.

According to Beijing’s human resources and social security bureau, they intend to choose those who’re capable of keeping a stable job and have expressed willingness to settle down. However, big-name employers may be also helpful, considering the top three employers boasting the highest scorers in the competition are known to be Huawei Technologies, CCTV, China’s national broadcaster and Shougang Group, a state-owned steel company.

Compared with other top tier cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Beijing is the last one to adopt the point-based hukou policy, considering as the capital city, it is under more pressure to limit its population.

The 13th Five-Year Plan stipulates that the number of inhabitants in the six districts of urban Beijing should be cut by 15 percent by 2020 compared with that in 2014, which is considered as a tough task for the municipal government.

The general trend is for less talents to be granted local hukou in a bid to relieve Beijing’s population pressure, although the supply of “high-quality” human resources also needs to be assured, Zhang Zude, the deputy chief of Beijing’s Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, was quoted as saying by Chinese media in 2015.

According to official data, among the top scorers this time, 35.8 percent are from high-tech firms, and 23.4 percent have won awards for innovation and entrepreneurship. China’s top telecommunications equipment maker Huawei has got 137 employees with Beijing hukou, thanks to the project this year.

Naturally, among all resident non-locals, only a small fraction gets to benefit from the incentive policy, considering that by the end of 2017, there were reportedly 7.94 million migrants in the city.

Zhang Yang moved to Beijing after finishing her learning overseas. She now works as global customer manager for a foreign bank with operation in Beijing. “At least, this will give hope and faith to common people. They know as long as they have a stable job, and pay taxes as required without intermission, they will get to settle down in Beijing someday.”

Zhang deemed the whole application process to be quite efficient and transparent. She noted that after getting approved, those with children who’re about to take gaokao would benefit from a “green channel” to acquire permanent residents’ ID in merely two weeks’ time.

Zhang said she and her husband never told her daughter about their struggles in the hukou ‘dilemma’. She had planned to tell her there is no difference in choosing private schools or going abroad for attending college if the girl could not take gaokao in Beijing. “(We would) show her only the bright side.”

In a QQ chatgroup Zhang joined in, all of over 300 group members are applicants for the 2018 Beijing point-based system. “Most of them are anxious parents who would share information, encourage each other through the process of trying,” wrote the Southern Weekly.  


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