China has called for more efforts to protect the rights of millions of citizens who have been shunned out of the country’s household registration system which automatically denies them from nearly all social welfare benefits.
Top officials from China’s Ministry of Public Security raised the issue in a recent meeting. The move comes after the country planned to abolish its one-child policy late last month.
It is estimated that 13 million Chinese citizens, nearly one-hundredth of its total population, do not have their household registration document, also known as Hukou, according to the sixth national census conducted in 2010.
Not having a Hukou, which has the record of the individual’s personal information and is acquired after birth, bars citizens from accessing to almost all social services provided by the state, including identification cards.
And most of the people have been deprived of the document because they are deemed as “illegally born child” under the soon to be scraped one-child policy.
Reform of China's hukou system -- a household registration system used to divide rural and urban permits of where people are allowed to live and work -- was one
Despite China’s law allowing the “illegally born child” to acquire a Hukou, their parents would often have to pay a fine, depending on their income, to the local family planning office before they can do the registration.
Families that cannot afford to pay the fine, which could be as high as thousands of yuan, often risk of having their children unregistered.
The Beijing Daily’s editorial pointed that “departmental interests” have led to the pending Hukous. The newspaper blamed some family planning branch offices for requesting local police officials to withhold issuing Hukou to families until they pay their dues – a punishment for having more than one child.
In its article today, China Youth Daily said that suspending Hukou registration for “unlawful child” has “betrayed the spirit of the rule of law” and denying Hukou on this ground is not only undermining Chinese people’s citizenship but also “politicizing a social issue.”