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A new rule that makes parents get divorced

By Xu Chi (Shanghai Daily)

08:26, May 16, 2012

Three couples in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing got divorced so their children could qualify for a public kindergarten because of a new rule aimed at restricting numbers.

Under the rule, toddlers can qualify for enrolment only when they and their parents hold hukous, or registered permanent residencies, in the same area, the Modern Express newspaper reported.

Too many parents wanted to send their children to the Jianye District Experimental Kindergarten, the newspaper reported, and the rule was introduced to cut the numbers.

The newspaper said a woman surnamed Jiao divorced her husband because, while she holds a hukou in Nanjing, her husband's is in another city.

After the divorce, their three-year-old son is eligible to be enrolled by the kindergarten as he and his single mother hold hukous in the same area.

"We don't have any other choice. I almost cried and wanted to give up when the staff workers try to mediate between us, but I didn't," Jiao told the newspaper. "A family's happiness is not directly linked to marriage," she said.

Jiao said they had bought an apartment near the kindergarten and their son had met all the other requirements before they were aware of the rule.

Jiao and her husband were among three couples who got divorced recently for the same reason.

The Jianye District Education bureau told the newspaper that the rule imposed by the public kindergarten was legal as it had the right to control the number of new children.

However, education officials, who were not named, told the newspaper that they couldn't say whether the children whose parents divorced would be enrolled by the kindergarten, but they could make sure the children were able to go to other kindergartens.

Parents said it would be unfair if their children could not go to their nearest kindergarten simply because it had introduced a "weird" rule.

"The kindergarten is the only one in Nanjing to make such a regulation, and it was not even issued by the education bureau," one parent told the newspaper.

The kindergarten planned to enrol about 140 children in the new semester, but hundreds of parents living nearby want their children there.

So far, the kindergarten has not commented on the issue.

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