Wealthier Shenzhen parents with second child face 1m yuan fine

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 10:32am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2012, 11:46am

Wealthier Shenzhen parents who plan to give birth to a second child in Hong Kong or overseas could be fined as much as 1 million yuan (HK$1.22 million), according to a new regulation that will come into effect on Tuesday.

More details of the new Shenzhen policy were reported by China’s Southern Metropolis Daily on Friday.

Parents who earn more than 20,000 yuan a year would be fined 480,000 yuan; an annual income of 73,000 yuan would be fined 220,000 yuan; and more than 500,000 yuan incomes would face a 1 million yuan fine, the report said.

The new policy would apply to couples of which one or both partners are registered as residents of Shenzhen.

In the past, many parents chose to give birth in Hong Kong or overseas to evade the "social maintenance fees." But now they would be required to pay the penalty when registering their child’s permanent residency, also known as hukou in Chinese, in Shenzhen. They would also be asked to pay the fine if the child had lived in Shenzhen for more than 18 months in the past two years.

With severe penalties looming, anxious Shenzhen parents are debating possible ways to dodge the fines.

“We are not going to register the child’s hukou in Shenzhen,” said Li, a Shenzhen parent who gave only a last name. “If we register in our rural hometown, we will only pay a 10,000 yuan fine.”

Some other Shenzhen parents consider delaying the registration until the child goes to primary school.

“They don’t ask for hukou in kindergartens,” said a parent.

Because the current policy waives two-thirds of the fine for parents who reveal their second child during population census, many parents also choose to hold out until the population census. But it’s not clear if or how long the policy will remain unchanged.

”I will try to get myself an unemployment permit after I give birth,” said another Shenzhen parent. “That will allow me to pay less.”