A mother of a hukou-less child is suing her local public security bureau for refusing her second child’s hukou application. Yang Yan (not her real name) decided to give birth to a second child in 2012, but decided not register her child’s hukou as the family could not afford to pay the 230,000 RMB fine for violating the one child policy at that time. Yang Yan put off registering her child until the need arose for the family to visit their elderly grandmother in Vietnam, since citizens are required to have hukou in order to travel abroad.
Yang’s application was refused despite her providing the necessary registration documents as required under national laws, as the Foshan public security bureau requires a further neighborhood committee certificate which she lacked. Obtaining the certificate would require a payment of a fine by way of a Social Maintenance Fee.
The Foshan requirements are contrary to the official state position, which stipulates that any penalties applicable for the violation of the one-child policy should only apply to parents, and children born outside the regulations are still entitled to a hukou. This official stance detailed in a notice issued by the National Family Planning Commission in 1988 was once again reiterated at a press conference in July this year by the new National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Jiang Pan, the lawyer in charge of the case, pointed out that the Foshan public security department had already exceeded its authority by including this requirement since it is not mentioned in any national and provincial regulations.
There is a growing trend for departments to de-link the family planning certificate from the <em>hukou</em> registration, with departments in provinces such as Shandong and Jiangxi having already changed their policies to abolish the certificate requirement. However, this requirement remains in more than 20 provinces across the country.