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Under China’s legacy high-socialism and planned economy, the Household Registration System endures as a coercive institutional mechanism that collects information on Chinese citizens for six decades. But, today’s hukou is markedly different from that of previous decades. Contemporary hukou practices have shifted to accommodate freedom of choice and the opportunity to deal with the risks and responsibilities associated with this right. This shift points to the decoupling of some state-planned practices and to more liberal practices related to the treatment of surveillance as a matter of population welfare.
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