BEIJING, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Measures are being taken to enable China's 260 million migrant workers to gain urbanite status and become integrated members of cities, Vice Minister of Public Security Huang Ming told Xinhua in an interview.
"China's city-dwellers now account for 52.6 percent of the total population if it is calculated by de jure population [total of all usual residents]," Huang said. "The proportion, however, falls to 35.3 percent if the calculation is based on people's 'hukou' [household registration]."
"It shows a lot of migrant workers who live in cities haven't obtained city 'hukou'. They are still in a 'semi-urbanite' status," he said.
The gap between the two urbanization rates also shows that the threshold for obtaining a city "hukou" remains high in certain cities. Some cities still lack the capacity to attract more residents, according to the vice minister.
The rigid household registration system splits China's 1.3 billion people into rural and non-rural residents, preventing migrants living in cities from enjoying equal access to services in cities.
Caught between the urban and rural residents are an army of 260 million migrant workers who live in cities but do not have access to the same public services as other urbanites who hold a city "hukou".
Official figures showed that 25.05 million rural people obtained urban household registrations from 2010 to 2012, which is 2.2 times the number in the previous three years.
In a reform plan, approved by the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee last month, the country vowed to accelerate reform of the household registration system.
China also promised in a statement released on Saturday after a central urbanization work conference to fully remove "hukou" restrictions in towns and small cities, gradually ease restrictions in mid-sized cities and set reasonable conditions for settling in big cities.
The government aims to enable current rural people already working in cities to win urbanite status and become integrated in cities to improve their quality of life, Huang said
The vice minister, however, warned that relevant measures should be carried out in line with people's willingness.
"People should be allowed to make their own decisions whether to go to cities or not, and which city and when they should go," he said.
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