Graduate makes formal complaint against local government for hukou discrimination

16 May 2013

A 23-year-old graduate from Anhui has written a formal complaint letter to the Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security accusing it of discrimination in its recruitment drive.

The bureau had specified that applicants for a job as a telephone consultant must have a Nanjing household registration (hukou). The graduate, Su Min (pseudonym) was registered in Xuancheng, about 100 kilometres outside Nanjing, and was hence disqualified.

“Only people with a Nanjing hukou could apply. I was perfectly qualified; the only thing I lacked was a Nanjing hukou. Is it really possible that only people from Nanjing are able to do this kind of work?” Su Min told the Chinese media.

“Is it because only Nanjing people can understand Nanjing dialect? Xuancheng dialect is really not that different,” she added.

In her complaint letter, Su Min called on the Jiangsu Provincial Bureau to rectify the illegal and discriminatory actions of the Nanjing Municipal Bureau.

As CLB‘s report on employment discrimination in China shows, hukou discrimination is widespread, especially for graduates, with one survey showing that nearly 60 percent of employers set specific hukou requirements for graduate employees. And even if they can get a job, migrant workers’ access to healthcare, social services and education will be severely constrained by their hukou status.

In addition, migrant workers often receive less pay for the same work as urban residents, and are more likely to be denied their due benefits and end up in labour disputes over unpaid wages or unpaid overtime. Many of the issues faced by migrant workers stem from the fact that they are often relegated to low-skilled positions in which exploitation of the vulnerable is rife.

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