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Quest for 2nd child exposes couple’s private life

By Zhang Xiaobo (Global Times)

09:12, June 14, 2013

The public have raised concerns over privacy after full details of a Guangxi couple's marital history were posted on a bulletin board in their residential compound when they recently applied for a permit to have a second child.

The bulletin was posted in Guijingwan residential compound in Liuzhou from April 3 to 17, and gave details about a resident, surnamed Chen, and his five marriages and of one child by an ex-wife, said an official from the neighborhood committee, surnamed Wei.

"All couples who apply for a second child birth permit must accept their marriage and child information being checked by the public," said Wei, adding that they did it according to the family planning regulations of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

In a regulation released by Guangxi Population and Family Planning Commission on April 10, 2012, Article 17 suggests that neighborhood committees are authorized to reveal relevant information of the applicants who want to have a second baby to the public. If the couple does not qualify for a second child according to family planning policies, a certificate will not be issued for that child, and it will be difficult to obtain a hukou (household registration) for the infant.

According to the rule, Chen can have another child with his current wife, since his other child is from a former wife.

However, what the relevant information exactly refers to is unclear, which has apparently misled some local governments in Guangxi into exposing too much private information about applicants in some cases.

"Technically, all the information about the applicants' marriage and children must be publicly displayed. But things vary depending on the situation," said an official, who declined to be identified, from the family planning commission of Liubei district, which supervises Guijingwan compound.

Many Web users questioned the move, saying that it was an invasion of people's privacy.

"If the information must be public, is it necessary to mention all five marriages? The Internet has intensified the privacy problems of the couple," one Web user commented, reported Guangxi-based news portal

"This is definitely an invasion of privacy, though it seems legal when the neighborhood committee cited the Guangxi regulation. They released too much personal information which is irrelevant to the application and made the couple uncomfortable," said Lu Hui, a lawyer from the Beijing-based Yingke Law Firm Thursday.

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