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The travails of having a second child (2)

By Mu Guangzong (China Daily)

09:27, May 28, 2013

Experts say the "fine" is imposed on couples who violate the family planning norms to cover the costs that the economy, society and the environment have to pay for the upbringing of an extra child. The measures for collecting the "social upbringing fees" and its amount are decided by provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, which take into consideration the local urban/rural income level as well as the specific couple's income.

However, in real practice, the "fine" imposed on a specific couple could be several times that of the officially recommended one, and thus deviate from the harmonious principles of the family planning policy.

On the issue of family planning, the government still depends on the norms of the planned economy. It pays little attention to the cyclical nature of fertility and does not view critically the punitive measures imposed on couples who violate the family planning policy.

Imposing "social upbringing fees" on couples for having a second or a third child may defy logic, but it has become a popular economic tool in the hands of local governments, which sometimes even encourage well-off families to have more children so that they can collect higher fees. It's a different matter that ordinary families, especially the poor ones, find the system overbearing and many newborns stand to lose their social status for being denied social ID, welfare and other public services. The "social upbringing fees" has become the main cause of a growing population of people without social IDs.

The family planning policy, therefore, should be adjusted to focus on independent planning by families. It's time the authorities reflected on the effects of the "social upbringing fees".

The government should thus respect people's individual, rather than social, decisions when it comes to family planning. It should also provide childbearing couples with economic help, professional guidance, public service and social security to help ease their problems.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiQian、Ye Xin)

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