Parents in Beijing, children in Hengshui: hukou issues make family reunions rare

千名来京务工者子女在衡水上学 与父母团聚少

Source: Beijing Youth Daily 北京青年报, December 2nd 2014

This story is about the case of over a thousand students attending the Hengshui boarding school because they cannot sit the gaokao1 in Beijing for lack of appropriate hukou2 despite the fact their parents work in Beijing and they were born and raised in Beijing.

Every month, boarding schools in Hengshui grant children a special five days holiday to allow them to go back to Beijing see their parents. Parents sending their children to Hengshui have different backgrounds, some are successful businessmen, others are normal workers. Their common characteristic is that they have been living and working in Beijing for years but have not obtained a Beijing hukou.

Most of the parents interviewed explain that bringing or sending their children back home is too complicated since they grew up in Beijing. Others say that it is easier to have better schools in Hengshui.

Therefore, the boarding schools in Hengshui are the best solutions for those who can afford them.


  1. Exam high school students have to sit in order to be able to enrol in a university 

  2. The Hukou (户口) is a record in the Household Registration System required by law in the PRC. It identifies a person as a resident of a particular area of the country and includes basic information such as name, parents, date of birth and marital status. There are two types of hukou, the urban hukou and the rural hukou, holders of the latter not being allowed to enjoy the same public services as holders of the former in Chinese cities. Only Beijing hukou holders are allowed to sit the gaokao in the capital. 

Translated by CDB Staff

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