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November 29, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Residency papers get scrutiny

A trial act takes effect today for the city to better monitor its citizens' hukou, or residency permits, with the goal of improving Shanghai's allocation of public resources.

As millions of Shanghai locals no longer live in the homes shown on their residency documents, the city has faced growing challenges in arranging public resources such as pensions and district schooling capacities. The regulation likely will take two years before any improvements are realized, the government said.

The act requires Shanghai-registered residents who no longer reside at the address on their document to register with neighborhood police stations about where they really live.

Neighborhood authorities and police will also increase investigations to spot such residents and urge them to report and update their locations.

Those falsely reporting their residency in order to cheat for social pensions will be criminally charged.

Landlords leasing apartments to residents without asking for their identification cards or to those using fake ones will also be fined. A single violation will lead to a maximum fine of 500 yuan(US$78), the regulation said.

The latest population census showed 30 percent of the nearly 14.12 million Shanghai native residents, meaning those holding local residency permits, are now living in one place while their hukou is registered elsewhere in town. The number has jumped by about 70 percent from a decade ago and is still climbing.

Experts said increasing urbanization and relocations, with more locals buying new apartments, have contributed to the situation.

"Many people have moved to suburban areas but they don't want to move their hukou based on the new locations because, relatively speaking, social welfare and subsidies are generally of higher standards than in suburban districts," said Peng Xizhe, a professor at Fudan University.

A survey showed that about 70 percent of residents in the suburban Baoshan and Minhang districts had their hukou registered in their original homes in downtown areas. A lot of the city's younger residential complexes and those used to support relocation projects were built in the two districts. Parents believe that keeping hukou registered in downtown houses ensures more convenient access for their children to go to downtown schools, which feature a higher quality of education. Some parents have registered their children's hukou with houses inhabited by their grandparents in downtown locations simply for the schools.

Ding Xia, a mother of a 13-year-old girl, told Shanghai Daily that she and her husband's hukou has been moved to Baoshan District where they now live but their daughter's hukou is still registered in downtown's Hongkou District.

"Hongkou has more good schools to choose from compared to Baoshan," she explained.

Peng said the wrong population information goes beyond pensions and can even cause public-security risks as the government can be misled in arranging regional police forces.


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