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Bachelor’s Degree: No Barrier to Accessing Public Rental Houses

Popularity 2Viewed 3993 times 2016-7-4 11:45 |System category:News

As the central and local governments in recent years have invested scores of billions in building public rental houses, a lot of middle-and-low incomed people’s living conditions have been improved. However, because of unfair allocation of public rental houses in some cities, still many people can’t move into public rental houses. 


On June 23rd, Dahe Daily reported that a city government of Henan province in Central China two years ago issued an official document stipulating that applicants for public rental houses should hold a bachelor degree. The report said, with this regulation still in effect, many applicants who badly need public rental houses has been turned down because of lacking a regarding diploma, which in turn has caused convolution and dissatisfaction among the public. 


Many people frequently ask one question: Why is it interrelated between holding a bachelor degree and obtaining application qualification? As a public commodity serving mass interests, public rental houses should have been distributed among the needy based on their income assessment, and hence this improper regulation has violated the basic attribute of what becomes of public rental houses. 


It is weird that such an irregular governmental document could have been in effective for over two years and uncertain how many applicants have been repudiated their qualification because of this odd regulation. In response to the public criticism and media exposure, the Henan city government has its own whitewashing rhetoric: setting up a diploma term is for attracting more special talents to work in this city and fuel the local economy.  


But again, the rhetoric goes against with whom public rental houses on earth are built for. As an integral part of the public housing system, public rental houses are built for pinpointed groups: the middle-low-incomed urban residents, migrant workers who meet the requirements of living and working for a certain period of time in the city and paying taxes and newly-graduated university students. Hence, the one and only one criterion for deciding upon an applicant’s qualification is the income standard and the status quo of their living, except which no barriers should have been applied to. 


The other weird aspect is the regulation explicitly rules that only applicants whose first degrees are obtained from four years full-time universities can access public rental houses. That indicates even applicants who firstly got a three years college diploma and finally obtained a Doctors’ degree are disqualified. It is such a ridiculous regulation that some law experts satirized it as ignorance of common sense. In an era when even senior technicians only with a vocational training certificate but dexterous at a particular skill can work for a Fortune 500’s Chinese affiliates, it is bewildering why the Henan local government cares so much about what kind of diploma house applicants holds. 


Technically speaking, behind this weird regulation is a misinterpretation of the allocation of public resources. In some cities, public rental houses are treated as incentives to attract talents, not requisite supporting resources for the needy. However, the number of public rental house inventories dwarfs the number of talents that they actually need, meanwhile, the high standards for house applying have almost fended off many middle-and-low incomed population away, so the final result is a misallocation of resources: a lot of public rental houses are unoccupied and many people desperate for a public rental house are denied access to these empty house. Distributing public resources in such an unaccepted fashion, the appearance of public suspicions that there are possible black box deals inside it is understandable. 


Actually, in attracting talents and distributing public rental houses among the needy, there exists no zero-sum rivalry. Nevertheless, the Henna local government wants to solve the two issues with one solution, which is unlikely because they are two totally different issues. On one hand, to attract talents, the government should have promulgated a separate package which clearly designates how many talents they want to have and how many affordable rental houses are allocated for them, and then put the package under the sunshine for public scrutiny. Only transparency can really relieve public suspicions. 


On the other hand, since there are more public rental houses available than before, the distribution process should be fairer. There should be just requirements, among which discriminative diploma terms and the like should be erased, applied on the application process and lucid mechanisms prepared for qualification queuing and houses lottery. If there are no enough rental houses for distribution, they government should also hammer out a roadmap to satisfy the housing demands of the needy. 


With housing prices sustained at an onward status in recent months, it is predicable that in the near future improving living conditions for the needy remains a challenging task for local government. As the central government pays more attention to increasing the number of public rental house, how to distribute them fairly is a matter of social justice. Starting from removing ridiculous barriers like bachelor degree out of the requirements list and establishing a fairer distribution system, the local government has more to do. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report voice_cd 2016-7-5 10:04
Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted it.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-7-5 18:07
As the process of Urbanization goes .. more and more people from village came to the city and however the government can't offer them a place to live but to keep them away from city ..  Then who is responsible for this and those people from village , where and how are they gonna live in the city ..?

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