Parents vying for school places in southern China told to get DNA tests for their children

Authorities say they introduced measure after fake documents were used to get kids into good schools, and it will only apply to those who weren’t born in area

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2018, 5:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 12:52pm

Parents in a town in southern China have been asked to provide DNA evidence that children are really theirs when they apply for a place at a local school, according to a newspaper report.

Education authorities in Humen, Dongguan said they came up with the unprecedented measure because some people had used fake documents to get children into good schools when the pupils were not from the area, The Beijing News reported on Sunday.

The measure will only apply to primary and middle school students who were not born in Humen – so if the parents are from the town but their child was born in Hong Kong or Macau, a birth certificate issued by the government of their birth city will no longer be sufficient.

Such parents must now include the results of a DNA test when they apply for a local school, starting from the summer intake, to prove their child’s biological link.

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They will need to have a blood test done at a government-appointed genetic laboratory before their children can be enrolled in a public school and access free tuition and other benefits available to local residents, according to the report. It said the DNA paternity tests cost 3,000 yuan (US$470).

One of the clinics told the newspaper that more than 100 students and their parents were waiting to have the test done there, and they needed to be completed by the end of this month.

Some parents on waiting lists have meanwhile complained that the authorities should have given them more time to get the DNA results.

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The alternative is to have their child’s hukou – or household registration document which controls access to public services based on the holder’s birthplace – reallocated to Humen, but the process would be complicated and unlikely to be completed by the deadline.

But a lawyer based in Beijing, Chang Sha, told the newspaper that the Humen government had no right to force parents to provide DNA proof, saying official documents including birth certificates were legally adequate. DNA evidence was not necessary and a violation of privacy, she said, describing the move as “personal humiliation”.

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