This chapter provides an overview of the structural inequality created by the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s, especially that produced by the hukou household registration system. It shows that the processes of inequality under the hukou system has many parallels with that in the Qing-dynasty Shuangcheng. In order to develop heavy industry, the state used hukou registration to classify people into urban and rural categories, with urban hukou holders enjoying better economic and political entitlements than rural houkou holders do. This structural inequality not only defined the socioeconomic statuses of people in the socialist period but also produced profound consequences in social inequality in the post-socialist era. These parallels reveal that the stratification system in PRC, which people tend to consider as a socialist extension, has existed in the past. Thus, the Shuangcheng case offers a distinct perspective on how people typically conceive ‘modern’ phenomena.
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