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Fines set for overseas births over legal limits

(Shanghai Daily)

08:10, November 02, 2012

COUPLES will face penalties in some cases if they have a child born outside China's mainland in violation of the nation's family planning law, according to a rule that takes effect next year in the southern Shenzhen City.

Penalties would apply when registering such a child or keeping the child in the mainland for 18 months within two years - if both members of a couple are registered residents in Shenzhen or one is registered in Shenzhen and the another elsewhere in the mainland.

The population and family rule in Shenzhen makes it clear that delivering a child not allowed by China's family planning policy overseas is illegal, officials said.

Each spouse of the couple would be fined three times the average income in Shenzhen in the previous year. For example, if the rule were in effect this year, a couple would have to pay 219,030 yuan (US$34,767) for such a child.

For additional children over legal limits, the penalty would be multiplied by the number of such children. People who have incomes higher than the average will also face higher fines, the rule states.

Officials from the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said the idea is not new, as the national population commission has had the same policy for years.

Shenzhen, however, may be the first one to codify it in its local law, giving it more legal power, experts said. The issue is particularly pressing in the city, which is close to Hong Kong, making it easier for local residents to go overseas to deliver children and avoid the mainland's strict one-child policy.

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