invincible piece of household registration

Sun14

Senior Member
Chinese
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering whether the preposition is used correctly:

“Regardless of their hard work, many people cannot manage to obtain a hukou in these cities – an invincible piece of household registration document that could bring benefits of various kinds ranging from social security, permit to buy car and flat, to children’s education.”

Context: My friends are telling of Hukou(Hukou system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) but I think the underlined part should be unattainable or something.
 
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  • spilorrific

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Hi, Sun -
    I would take out "piece of." The hukou... is an invincible household registration document that...
    OR
    I would change it to this: The hukou... is an invincible piece of (identification?) documentation that ...
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi, Sun -
    I would take out "piece of." The hukou... is an invincible household registration document that...
    OR
    I would change it to this: The hukou... is an invincible piece of (identification?) documentation that ...
    I am curious why you think invisible is correct? Does invincible mean impossible here?
     

    spilorrific

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Now I am lost. The word "invisible" was not in our discussion. I typed "invincible." You typed "invincible" in your original post. Now you have "invisible"?? Help!
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    From the sequence of questions, I suppose this part was planned to be underlined: "... an invincible piece of household registration document that could bring benefits ..."

    I see that Wiki also uses the description "houshold registration", but that term is a bit misleading. In fact it has more the function of a residence permit. Some decades ago, you were not even allowed to rent a place in a city and work there; without the Hukou you were considered an illegal migrant. As far as I know it has changed a bit. You can live and work in the city if you find a job, but you will only get perks and benefits (permit to buy a house, social benefits of schooling, medical benefits, pensions, etc.) based on your registered primary residence Hukou -- and the difference of such benefits can be sky-high between city and countryside.

    "Invincible" doesn't sound right. My first thought was "an indestructible document"??
    Your suggestion "almost unattainable" makes more sense and seems more accurate.

    [cross-posted; I'm an incredibly slow typer...]
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Your question is about the use of "invincible" in this text. I agree it is being mis-used. "invincible" refers to fighting or other conflict, and means "unbeatable".

    I don't think this is a typo, like "invisible". I think the author meant to use the word "invincible", but it is an incorrect translation of some non-English word.

    The Hokou document is definitely important. It might be considered an essential document for anyone to have.

    You suggest unattainable, but that would mean almost zero people have one of these. I thought it was the opposite: almost everyone has it.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I think by describing it as "invincible", the author meant something that can't be challenged. Perhaps he meant "irrefutable".
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Dojibear's "essential" was the word that occurred to me too.

    cross-posted
     

    spilorrific

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I was thinking "critically important" before I saw dojibear's "essential." I don't think you want "unattainable" for the reason given by dojibear.
    Maybe "incontestable"? "Unchallengeable"? (Merriam-Webster lists this as a synonym for "irrefutable" (thank you, barque), although I cannot state that I thought this was truly a word.
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I was thinking "critically important" before I saw dojibear's "essential." I don't think you want "unattainable" for the reason given by dojibear.
    Maybe "incontestable"? "Unchallengeable"? (Merriam-Webster lists this as a synonym for "irrefutable" (thank you, barque), although I cannot state that I thought this was truly a word.
    Got it. Thank you very much.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think the underlined part should be unattainable or something.
    I think you need to explain to us what this document means to you. If the idea is that this is a highly desirable document to have because of the benefits it confers, maybe we should be searching for a word to express that aspect. "Indispensable" perhaps?
     

    Sun14

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think you need to explain to us what this document means to you. If the idea is that this is a highly desirable document to have because of the benefits it confers, maybe we should be searching for a word to express that aspect. "Indispensable" perhaps?
    I think to me it is essential and indispensable for you to live in those cities but I'd rather think it is hard to fetch so I intend to express this meaning.
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    I think to me it is essential and indispensable for you to live in those cities but I'd rather think it is hard to fetch so I intend to express this meaning.
    Yes, "essential" is definitely an accurate description but also "nearly unattainable" is correct for a large group of people.
    Hukou is basically a social and economic engineering tool for the government. When the one approved child is borne, it is registered under the parents address, that's its Hukou.
    If this child, let's say from Yunnan - a low cost/low income region, studies and decides to go and work in Shanghai, the government decides whether they grant him/her Hukou in that city. If you have a profession that's desperately needed (or if you have any other "special reason"/qualification), you might get a residence permit. If not, you still have the chance to marry somebody from that city. Then you may be able to choose whether you pick the wife's or husband's initial Hukou for this new family (I'm not too sure about that; but either way, the government has the last say).

    Bottom line: For a normal person without higher education, special skills, or money who is coming from rural areas, it's practically impossible to get a Hukou in one of the wealthy cities. (to put it into perspective, income difference from Yunnan to Shanghai is easily 1:10 in average and can go significantly beyond that if you're in the right industry!)
     

    brofeelgood

    Senior Member
    English, 中文
    A hukou 户口 is the registered residence of a Chinese citizen. manfy summed up its significance nicely.

    In the given context, I would have opted for "an all-important residence document/status" instead.
     
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