China to register and provide benefits for 13M undocumented citizens

World Today

There are 13 million unregistered people in China’s social system and now the government says it will grant amnesty for them.

China says it will provide them social benefits, such as medical insurance and education. Such benefits require a permit known as “hukou”.

Registration is considered a fundamental right for Chinese citizens.

However, many of the unregistered fear that once on-record, they will be fined for violating the birth-control policy. Authorities say there will be no penalties.

Xinhua reports, China has around 13 million unregistered people, one percent of the entire population. They include orphans and “black children” (second children born illegally during the period of strict enforcement of the one-child policy), the homeless and those who have yet to apply for one or who have simply lost theirs. Those parents who violated family planning policy often refrained from getting “hukou”, or citizenship,  for their children in order to avoid fines.

“It is a basic legal right for the Chinese citizens to lawfully register for hukou. It’s also a premise for citizens to participate in social affairs, enjoy rights and fulfill duties,” said a statement released Wednesday after a meeting of the central leading group for comprehensively deepening reform.

Wednesday’s meeting was told that registration should take place irrespective of family planning and other policy limits, and those without hukou who face difficulties in applying should see their problems solved.

“The number of people without hukou, their distribution and causes should be made clear… and every citizen’s right to hukou should be protected in accordance with the law,” the statement said.

It was stressed that hukou registration should be coordinated with family planning, adoption, aid for the homeless and nationality management.

Story from CCTV News and Xinhua.