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Residence Permits and Points Systems: New forms of educational and social stratification in urban China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Yiming Dong, Charlotte Goodburn

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-666
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of contemporary china
Issue number125
Accepted/In press21 Aug 2019
PublishedJul 2020


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This article draws on analysis of local policy documents and migrant and official interviews to explore the development, implementation and impacts of two aspects of China’s 2014 hukou reforms that have been less scrutinised than the abolition of the rural/urban distinction: the mandatory use of residence permits and points systems for migrants to cities with a population over 5 million. Taking migrant education as a case study, and focusing on Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Beijing, it argues that central and local priorities are more about population control than social equality. Far from their stated aims of equalizing migrant services with locals, the policies introduce new forms of educational and social stratification, aimed at increasing control over migrant selectivity, with far-reaching consequences for Chinese social development.

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