Frustrated “Lower-class” Parent Calls Out Classism

After a child in Shanghai received detention at school for failing to turn in a notice for a health insurance program his or her family did not qualify for, one of the child’s parents turned to the Internet to vent frustration with what the parent and many hukou-less residents of China’s big cities have decried as institutionalized classism in society. The parent had a few choice words for the school, which he or she wrote on the insurance notice before sending it back in to the teacher. The parent posted a photo of the notice and a short description of the situation online under the title “We Live in a Country of Strict Hierarchy.” CDT has provided a translation of the parent’s story and photo below:

We Live in a Country of Strict Hierarchy

This morning, I was utterly irate over a notice my kid brought home from school. Yesterday, my child came home from school with a notice from the Shanghai Education Bureau about registering for Shanghai Residents Health Insurance at our own expense. It dictated that only three categories of people could register their kids. The first category was for kids with Shanghai hukou [residence permits]. The second was for children whose parents hold a Residential Permit A for nonnative talented individuals. The third was for kids whose parents hold a Residential Permit B for nonnative talented individuals–in other words, those with foreign citizenship. I threw the notice away immediately because we didn’t belong to any of those three categories.

As a consequence, my kid was held by his teacher after school, and we had to go pick him up. The reason was because my child did not return the health care program notice back to the teacher. This morning, I wrote several sentences on the notice and gave it to my child to turn in to the teacher.

(image text, printed:)

I) For those who will take part in the residential health insurance program, please check the box that corresponds to your circumstances:

1. Student is registered with a local residential permit.

2. Child’s parents are “Nonnative Talents” (beginning with CW9)

3. Child’s parents are “Nonnative Talents Type B” (beginning with CR, FR, etc)

II) If not participating in the 2013 residential health insurance program, please specify the reasons below:


(handwritten text from image:)

Ridiculous policy! This purposefully categorizes people into different classes. We are low-class people, none of the above.

We are Chinese, but we aren’t even qualified to have our kids registered for residential health insurance–not even at our own expense! How can this school still go about educating our kids to love the party and love our mother country?

Via CDT Chinese. Translation by Mengyu Dong.


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