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With a low birth rate, Chinese society gradually accepts single mothers

The low birth rate makes many single mothers in China demand a change. Photo: Bloomberg

Ms. Yue Li lives in a southern port city of Guangzhou province. She gave birth to a son in 2018 but had difficulty registering legal documents. She broke up with her boyfriend before giving birth.

After that, Yue Li discovered that the approach to childbirth and household registration was quite easy for her children. From here Ms. Yue Li publishes a step-by-step guide regarding the non-traditional family legal registration to WeChat.

Although the Chinese government has terminated the one-child policy since 2016, as well as the necessary rules for marriage registration, the application is much different in 31 provinces and cities of China.

The Guangdong province where Yue Li settled decided to eliminate the "violating family planning" penalty for unmarried women who give birth.

Ms. Yue Li shared on WeChat: “The easing of policies has made me more courageous to have children. A year earlier, the penalty could have been up to tens and thousands of yuan. "

Change in China comes as the Chinese government wants to encourage birthrates. In 2018, the number of newborns in China fell to its lowest level in six decades. This suggests that discontinuing the one-child policy has little impact on the low fertility situation.

The family planning law in China advocates making traditional families the nucleus of society and does not create conditions for single or same-sex parents. Chinese laws do not directly punish women who give birth outside of marriage, but not having a father's name on legal documents makes it difficult.

There is no exact statistical information on the number of single mothers in China, but a Shanghai media channel estimates that more than 1 million have given birth outside of marriage, based on 2010 statistics.

The outlook for single parents has changed in China. In a study published in 2016, with 2,800 Chinese participants, the result was more than 86% of respondents saying it was acceptable for single women to have children and 75% also agreed with the couple. Lesbians can have children.

However, a woman named Zou Xiaoqi was involved in a two-year court battle with the Shanghai Social Insurance Fund Management Center when she was denied compensation for reproductive costs. Ms. Zou Xiaoqi was unable to publish her marriage certificate.

The Bloomber news agency quoted Zou Xiaoqi's lawyer as saying: “For us, this lawsuit is not related to winning or losing. It is important to raise the social awareness of women who are denied legal rights just because they give birth without a marriage certificate. ”

In China, workers often pay money to government funds responsible for women's reproductive insurance, but there are differences between cities and provinces.

Huang Xihua, deputy secretary of Huizhou City Party Committee, Guangdong province, said: “As the country is becoming more modernized, raising birth rates is not that simple: reducing fertility costs is necessary, but not enough. . It is necessary to create more independence for women, to change the traditional patriarchal system and to recognize the legal rights of children born outside marriage. ”

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