Children of white collar workers, college graduates denied education along with migrant laborers
Mr. Li digs the tunnels for Beijing’s subway system, but Beijing won’t let his daughter attend school. Mr. Li is one of the over 8 million people living in Beijing without a Beijing residence permit.
On October 12, they were among a group of parents of children without Beijing residence (hukou) who gathered outside a courtroom to support a fellow parent who had sued over access to education. News of the court date was censored after spreading online.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the hukou system has regulated where Chinese citizens can live and work and allowed for the government to have a great level of control over the economy and labor. While the system has been relaxed since the pre-reform days of a control economy, it still impacts access to public services, including education.
It’s not just temporary migrant workers, who provide much of the labor needed to build cities and keep them functioning, who are discriminated against. Some who have lived in Beijing for decades, including white collar workers and graduates of top universities, cannot enroll their children in local schools.
This could be a growing problem as the economy becomes more and more service-oriented and the population more and growing share of the population obtaining higher education and moving to cities to work.