Shanxi investigates disciplinary official for double hukou

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 12:35pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 2:10pm

Shanxi officials have launched an investigation into a family of public officials after one was found to be in illegal possession of more than one household registration permit, while another owned close to a dozen properties in the country, the Beijing Times reported.

Zhang Yan, an official with Yuncheng city’s Commission for Discipline Inspection, was found to have illegally registered household registration permits, or hukou, in both Yuncheng and Beijing, the newspaper had first reported on Thursday.

Zhang's husband, Sun Hongjun, helped her obtain the hukou during his tenure as Xiaxian county’s police chief. He was sacked last year.

Zhang’s Beijing address is listed to a residential complex in Zhongguancun – an area known by many as China’s Silicon Valley, although neighbours said they rarely saw her. 

A second hukou allows a citizen to sidestep government regulations regarding property ownership and gain access to a city’s public services such as education and health care.

According to the newspaper, a second hukou can be bought under the table for about 100,000 yuan (HK$123,000). Police are known to take bribes to process documents “negligently”.

Gao Qinrong, a well-known human-rights reporter who first broke the news online, said on Monday that he had been receiving “death threats”.

Zhang’s father-in-law, Sun Taiping, formerly the head of the city’s finance bureau, has been accused of owning 11 houses across the country, including two in Beijing.

Chinese netizens have nicknamed Zhang “house daughter-in-law” – a play on the “house sister and house uncle” phenomena.

Shanxi province has seen a recent spike in officials caught using the double residence loophole to buy property.

A former Shanxi bank official prompted an investigation by the state banking watchdog earlier this month, after she was accused of using the two sets of hukou to amass several properties worth an alleged 1 billion yuan.

Meanwhile, police in Shanxi province’s Yulin are launching a three-month campaign to root out citizens with illegally registered hukou, the Global Times reported on Tuesday. Prime targets, it said, will include government employees, entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals.