Hukou-less Child Wants Revenge on Family Planning Commission

A little Chinese boy holds up a "hukou" household registration booklet.

A little Chinese boy holds up a "hukou" household registration booklet.

The article below is currently the most discussed article on major Chinese web portal NetEase with over 160k comment participants. In Chinese, the word “black” in front of something means that thing is illegal, illegitimate, or officially unrecognized, like a “black taxi”. So, “black child” is a child that lacks proper government-issued identification and documentation. “Black society” refers to organized crime like gangs, triads, or mafia.

From NetEase:

8-Year-Old Born Out of Wedlock “Black Child”: When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Join “Black Society” to Take Revenge on the Family Planning Commission

“Black Child” Investigation

“Black households” are a demographic of people whose objective existence is not recognized by society, and because they have since birth been unable to enjoy the various rights of normal citizens, the characters/quality of “black household” members are widely relatively low [lack of education, etc.], therefore becoming a hidden danger to the normal order of society.

Because she is unable to solve her child’s hukou [household registration] problem, single mother Liu Fei (pseudonym) has taken the Beijing Fangshan district Public Security Sub-Bureau to court, requesting that the court confirm that the Fangshan sub-bureau’s refusal to process her child’s hukou household registration is illegal.

Liu Fei and Li X gave birth to their child Little Jie (pseudonym) in a situation where they had not registered for marriage, and because they are unable to pay over 330k yuan in Social Maintenance Fees [a fine for having more children than allowed by law], Little Jie is already 8 years old this year but still a “black child” without a hukou. From the child’s birth certificate to the child’s education, every step of the way, Liu Fei has repeatedly suffered obstacles and setbacks, forced to “find connections and beg favors” everywhere, and even so, the line for Little Jie’s identification number on his school enrollment card is blank.

…children born out of wedlock like Little Jie can have major problems just getting a birth certificate…”

Due to the household registry system and family planning policies, in China, whether a child can have their household registration processed after birth requires various documentation. In some areas, children born out of wedlock like Little Jie can have major problems just getting a birth certificate. Without a birth certificate, it is then impossible to apply for national and household registration, impossible to get a citizen identification number, and also impossible to prove to prove an infant’s birth and blood relations.

In October of this year, the Hubei province Health and Family Planning Commission introduced measures for the administration of handling birth certificates, requiring “the various issuing agencies ad management agencies to not make documents such as marriage certificates and birth permits additional requirements for the issuance (of birth certificates)”.

As a matter of fact, according the series of “Medical Birth Certificate” regulations issued by the Health Department and Public Security Bureau, the processing of “Medical Birth Certificates” requires the examination of the newborn infant’s parents’ valid identification, but does not have marriage certificates or birth permits as additional requirements. However, in practice, “black children” like Little Jie are a huge demographic, and the news of Hubei’s revision of the administration measures brought renewed attention to the issue of “black children”.

“Black Children”

They are a group of innocent children, but in the eyes of secular society and the clauses of the law, they have been branded as the products of immorality. In terms of the law, they are children born out of wedlock, but in the hidden subcultures of society, they have an even more embarrassing name–“illegitimate children/bastards”.

In the middle of winter 2013, one week after Liu Fei’s case began, this reporter met Little Jie. Heading southwest from Beijing South Station, passing through the West Sixth Ring Road and a series of toll booths, the taxi lingered on the small streets of Fangshan district Qinglonghu town, lost, the navigation system also failing intermittently. From the notion of “Old Beijing”, this place can no longer be considered the capital city, the scenery along the road no different from any ordinary small county town. After driving around and finally finding the neighborhood where Liu Fei’s home is, it was already 8pm at night.

From Liu Fei tone of helplessness, this reporter could tell that life for this mutually dependent mother-son pair is indeed not easy.

Upon meeting, Liu Fei immediately began to explain to Xinmin Weekly: “I’m truly sorry for not returning your text message earlier, there has just been too many things today. The lock on our front door is broken, my child couldn’t get in after returning home, and I had to eventually find someone to pry the lock open. I didn’t even have time to make dinner for my child and had him go to my aunt’s home to eat on his own.” From Liu Fei tone of helplessness, this reporter could tell that life for this mutually dependent mother-son pair is indeed not easy. For a single mother raising a child on her own, could her child’s household registration be the only problem in her life?

Once inside Liu Fei’s home, Little Jie was already waiting by the door. Seeing his mother bring a reporter in, he was full of excitement. This is a lively energetic boy, one you couldn’t tell as being different from other children. “Auntie [referring to the reporter], I heard Mommy say you took a wrong turn. Did you accidentally go all the way to Qinglonghu Primary School? That’s where I go to school. I just started first grade…” My conversation with Little Jie began with this kind of easy and vivacious mood, up until this reporter found the CD Liu Fei pointed to on the computer desk, when the mood suddenly took a turn.

When it happened, Liu Fei was in the kitchen cooking. In the noise of the exhaust hood, Liu Fei leaned out of the kitchen halfway and told this reporter who was chatting with Little Jie on the sofa that on the computer desk in her bedroom is an interview CD that was mailed to her by the media. “Media people came a few days ago, and after interviewing me, they mailed me two CDs. I couldn’t play them; I’m not sure if it is a computer problem. Can you take a look for me?”

Without waiting for this reporter to respond, Little Jie had already jumped up and pulled this reporter into Liu Fei’s bedroom, picked up the CD and very experienced-like put it into the CD drive. Indeed, the CD player could not play it, and Little Jie suddenly said: “Even without watching it, I know it must be about my mom.” When saying this, Little Jie’s previous liveliness and energy disappeared. There was a sort of negative energy that is very difficult to describe in his tone of voice. Was it dejection? Helplessness? Or was it anger?

“My mom doesn’t have the money to pay it, and wants to sell her kidney…”

“They say my mom has to be fined for having me, or else they won’t give me a household registration. The fine is over 300k. My mom doesn’t have the money to pay it, and wants to sell her kidney…” Little Jie continued. When this reporter asked Little Jie where her heard these things, Little Jie answered: “They’re always saying this to my mom, in person, on the phone, I heard it. I think the Family Planning Commission and Public Security Bureau people are really bad. When I grow up, I want to join black society [organized crime], and take revenge on them.” To hear this kind of talk from the mouth of an 8-year-old boy who had just started first grade in elementary school, this reporter was shocked, and at the same time left speechless and unable to respond.


Comments from NetEase:

网易美国网友 网易美国网友 ip:67.110.*.*:

Such a difference. Old Zhang‘s 3 children could all get hukou household registrations.
But her one child can’t even get one. [The differences] in China’s current situation sure are large.

mike208234 [网易广西梧州市网友]:

Not afraid of black society, only afraid of society becoming black.

拳打幼儿园脚踢敬老院 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

What did the child do wrong? Why can’t even an identification number be given to him?

网易甘肃省平凉市网友 ip:115.85.*.*:

Child, don’t get people mixed up. Whoever ruined your life is who you should ruin. [Get revenge on those responsible, don’t take it out on innocents.]

biao8329 [网易广东省深圳市网友]:

Having children, reproducing, and having descendents is the god-given right of every person, so for what reason do we have to have other people’s permission to have children?


I was born in ’82. The barbaric conduct of Family Planning officials has always been a shadow from my childhood. They are no less than bandits! I hate them too, so I can understand the interviewee in this article.

网易江苏省苏州市手机网友 [英雄小喇嘛]: (responding to above)

I’m was born in ’87 and in my time, I’ve seen the confiscation of food, furniture, household appliances, as well as demolition of homes, and the reason was simply because of excessive births [having more children in violation of the law]! I was supposed to have a younger brother. At 9-months, labor was induced, and he was even moving when he came out! They immediately stuck a needle into his head [killing the baby]!

网易北京市网友 [中华人民共和国酱油党]: (responding to above)

My god, 2nd floor [above commenter], is what you saying true? Reading it covered me with cold sweat. Inducing labor even at 9 months? How is this family planning? This is murder for money. Sue them, and if you can’t then bludgeon them to death with a brick.

网易广东省广州市网友 [lirunfa168]: (responding to above)

Stuff like what the 2nd floor said are plenty.
Murder for money.

网易上海市静安区网友 [云中淡烟]: (responding to above)

My family’s part-time help says her neighbor was also at 9 months when she was dragged away and forcibly given an injection. En route, she even jumped into a river attempting to escape, but was dragged ashore. And it was a baby boy too.

网易广东省东莞市网友 [幸福的味道333]: (responding to above)

According to what a friend who is a nurse said, back then, a lot of those that had induced labor had fully-developed and moving babies, that were then immediately suffocated to death and thrown into the bin. Sometimes there were so many that they had no where to hold them. Extremely brutal.

宇宙之外的生物 [网易南非网友]: (responding to above)

That’s not even the most brutal. In ’04, civil servants in small towns and villages responsible for family planning all had assignments. One person would watch over several pregnant women, breaking into people’s homes in the middle of the night to grab people. The pregnant women’s men would be away for work, completely unable to stop their bandit-like behavior. If you fled, they’d find you. A classmate told me he saw with his own eyes carts with the body of infants pulled out at the hospital. Everyday, at least 5-6 times. He had just started working, and his conscience was constantly disturbed.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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