Despite moving into a city, a rural resident still has to live with his social status as a peasant
Stop Using “Peasant” to Avoid Discrimination
China should eliminate residence-based discrimination and stop differentiating between rural and urban residents, Ma Kening, a NPC delegate from Shaanxi, proposed to China's top legislature.
In the proposal, which Ms. Ma also posted on her blog at people.com.cn, she pointed out that rural residents, or nong min (peasants) as they are usually called, have not been granted full citizen rights as those who live in cities, including political rights, education and social security, such as government sponsored health care and pension.
“The word 'nong min' should not appear in China’s formal law texts. The term itself is a discrimination against citizens living in the rural area,” Ms. Ma wrote, and suggested the word be replaced with “rural residents” or “rural citizens” in the Constitution and other laws.
For almost fifty years, China has had a residence registration system that distinguishes between rural and urban residents, who hold different type of residence certificate. Those who hold a rural residence certificate are not entitled to many rights that are enjoyed by urban residents.
“Nong min is not a social status but a occupation. The status should be ‘citizen,’” says one public comment on Ms.Ma's blog. “Now, nong min is treated as a social status, and [a nong min] is still a nong min even when he became a factory worker or entrepreneur. This is just wrong!”
Another comment said it is laughable that “one country has two kinds of citizen,” and complained that the current discriminating system “has given too many unfair treatments to rural citizens.”
Beside Ms. Ma, several other two-meeting members also brought up similar proposals, calling on abolishing the current dual structure of the residence registration system and replacing it with a uniformed one, although some experts said it is still not the right time to get rid of the system all together.
Ma Kening's blog
Other similar proposals
The CPPCC concluded its session on Thursday after passing a political resolution.