Celia Hatton reports for the BBC on children born outside China’s “one-child” policy and subsequently denied identity papers. As a result, their parents may be forced to pay bribes to allow them to attend school, for example, in addition to quasi-official fines for violating the policy.
Zhang Rundong is a little boy with big eyes and a serious expression, standing on the edge of the noisy group of children. He is the Zhang family’s illegal second son, born in violation of the country’s one-child policy.
In retaliation for the boy’s birth, officials are withholding his identity papers. Without them, he cannot access healthcare or free education, travel within his country or even use a library.
This month, China’s one-child policy was relaxed, allowing some couples to have two children. But nothing has changed for an estimated 10-20 million children already born in violation of the original policy. [Source]
Hatton heard from one 20-year-old unauthorized second-born about the practical effects of living in legal limbo:
“I couldn’t get regular health checks as a baby, and I wasn’t able to receive any kind of basic vaccines,” Ms Li said. “I couldn’t go to school to receive the compulsory nine-year education. Now, I don’t even have an identity file. I haven’t received any education, and no work place would accept me. Everyone needs to provide an identity card to take a train anywhere and to see a doctor.” [Source]
Another group deeply affected by government policies is the more than 60 million “left-behind” rural children separated from their parents by, in large part, the hukou household registration system.