A child lying amid condemned migrant dwellings on the outskirts of Beijing, August 2017  
Thomas Peter / Reuters

One often hears the Chinese Communist Party lauded for “lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty,” as the expression usually goes. And there is no denying that the CCP deserves credit for that historic achievement. Less remarked on, however, is the plight of the hundreds of millions of Chinese people living on low incomes in the country’s rural areas, facing few prospects for advancement. China’s rural inhabitants are not living in poverty, but the CCP provides them with almost no means for social mobility—or any mobility at all, owing to the restrictive hukou residential permitting system.

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