Although close to 70% of social benefits have been decoupled from the <em>hukou</em>, most basic benefits such as education, healthcare and the pension system are still tied in to the <em>hukou</em> system.
According to public security bureau statistics, there are many individuals holding more than one <em>hukou</em>, since approximately 1 million duplicates were canceled last year. Many capitalise on multiple <em>hukous</em> to conceal their wealth and evade tax, buy multiple properties, travel abroad and conceal crimes.
In contrast, many are unable to obtain even one <em>hukou</em>; reasons for refusal include giving birth out of wedlock and being late in registering. At present, 13 million Chinese are without a <em>hukou</em>, and the population of an entire village in Yunnan was found to be hukouless by the Sixth National Population Census. These individuals are essentially not recognised as citizens and hence are not entitled to social benefits or even the basic right to travel.
Besides this, other problems exist. <em>Hukou</em> records are full of mistakes, with glaring errors often being made when personal details are recorded. This has adverse consequences; for example, a child registered by officials as being 4 years older than her mother was unable to obtain access to education. Deaths are also not properly recorded, meaning that families of the deceased are still able to claim pension and benefits. Moreover, the system is corrupted with a Beijing <em>hukou</em> being easily obtainable for 180,000 RMB.
Nevertheless, when interviewed by the Legal Daily, Wang Tai Yuan, a professor at Chinese People’s Public Security University, is optimistic that, given the recent government-initated reforms over the past few years, <em>hukou</em>-related problems will eventually be solved.