China will register its 13 million undocumented citizens, mostly those who were born under China’s one-child policy, after thirty five long years of waiting and marginalization in society.
On Wednesday’s meeting, President Xi Jinping announced that the government t will grant the necessary documents to give the unregistered individuals the privileges, which they have been long -denied to enjoy. These people, without documents or household registration, known in Chinese as “hukou” are marginalized that they do not have access to health care and schooling.
China declared that it will put a stop to its controversial one-child policy, which was a move to address population explosion in 1979, “brutally enforcing sterilizations and abortions to couples.” Any extra child born under the policy is barred from being registered unless they are able to pay a very high penalty.
But in October this year, after more than three decades of the policy’s enforcement, China changed its view to allow couples to have two children.
With the registration, unregistered people will now have “Hukou”. This will give opportunity to the so-called Chinese “black children” as called by media, access to state education and healthcare in their hometown, to open a bank account, to marry and have formal employment, Chinese media, Xinhua reported.
Moreover, the registration will give “black children” the rights of being a Chinese citizen to enjoy the privilege to participate in social affairs, fulfill duties and responsibilities and the accompanying rights.
One undocumented child “Li Xue” was born in 1993, whose parents were not able to pay the 5,000 yuan penalty. She was not able to attend a state school and was only taught by her elder sister at home. With the forthcoming documentation process, “Li Xue” is hoping to get her “hukou” and pursue her dream to study law. But she is still waiting for the government’s action and implementation of the new policy.
One question surfaced on China’s decision to reverse its strong and “brutally” branded population control program. Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights activist against “one-child policy” in an interview with CNN, looks at labor shortage as the main trigger to scrap the rule.
Sharing a view with that of the Communist Party, Chen said that “China is facing a double whammy of labor shortage and aging society amid an economic slowdown”. Continuing, Chen added that the new policy is “too little, too late,”
However, this is China’s nearest and most appropriate strategy to address the forthcoming labor shortage and address an aging population problem. It is predicted that China will have “more than 400 million people” over the age of 60 in 15 years, a very big burden for the working population to support.
The registration favors the undocumented children and promises a good and fresh start for a new life. This is the time that they have long been waiting for, to be a rightful part of the society and country where the belong.
But the scrapping of the one-child policy has not encouraged couples to have two children. China State media reported that middle class urbanites, the target group did not respond to the offers because of the high cost of pregnancy and raising children. Many couples view another bundle of joy, a second child as “too expensive”.