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China’s push to loosen Mao-era residence rules runs into hurdles

BEIJING/HONG KONG, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Yang Guang’s rise from a village farmer to an Audi-driving businessman with two properties hinged largely on one of the most coveted documents in China: an urban hukou, or residency permit.

The 45-year-old who lives in the central city of Zhengzhou likens the permit – which typically ties a person’s access to health, education, loans and other services to their birthplace – to a “cattle ear-tag the state clipped us with”.

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