Mainlanders need a total of 103 different certificates and forms of identity over a lifetime, a Guangzhou delegate has claimed.
He highlighted the figure as he suggested bureaucracy needed to be streamlined.
Cao Zhiwei, from the Guangzhou Committee of the Chinese People’s Political and Consultative Committee, presented a transparent box with all 103 certificates to fellow delegates to highlight the amount of red tape citizens had to cut deal with just to receive basic services.
He said: “This year, I want to reflect ordinary people’s concerns and the problems every citizen has with certificates.”
It is not the first time Cao used unconventional ways to bolster his arguments. Last year, Cao presented a so-called “long march diagram” to show the difficulty in obtaining a birth certificate in the city.
He said mainlanders had to apply for more than 400 certificates during their lifetime, 103 of which were used regularly.
“The first certificate has to be handled before you are born while you’re in your mother’s womb,” Cao said. “Even before you have an X or Y chromosome, you have to start.”
He said the 103 certificates could be divided into six categories: identity, education, work, home and marriage, property and insurance, and life. These even included certificates to prove you are alive to receive your pension, as well as certificates for cremation and to deposit your ashes.
Cao said to obtain all 103, you had to go through 18 departments and 39 offices, and required 100 stamps as well as paying fees. He added that you also had to submit your hukou (household registration) 37 times, send 50 photos and submit your identity card 73 times for all 103.
He said Guangzhou should take the lead and set up an online citizen’s database, including tax and credit information as well as loan and criminal records. Cao also suggested merging separate departments and offices into a one-stop website and allowing online applications.
Wan Qingliang, the committee secretary, agreed excessive bureaucracy was a real problem that had to be tackled.