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Birth registration changes better protect rights: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-01-31 19:32

A nurse takes care of a newborn baby at Gansu Provincial Maternity and Childcare Hospital in Lanzhou. [Photo/Xinhua]

Sichuan province's newly-amended regulation on birth registration requires no marriage certificate for anyone to register the birth of a baby. Which means a single parent or unmarried couple does not have to worry about getting a birth certificate for their babies born out of wedlock.

This is not the first local regulation of its kind. Some other localities such as South China's Guangdong province and East China's Anhui province have also revised their relevant regulations so that a marriage certificate is not required to register a birth.

As a matter of fact, articles in China's Civil Code and Marriage Law stipulate that babies born outside of marriage enjoy the same rights as those of married couples. What some local governments have been doing in this regard has just put into practice the stipulations of the national statutes.

The main purpose of removing the marital status restriction from the birth registration regulations is to better protect the rights of those who have children without getting married.

Traditionally, a child of unmarried parents was looked down upon as illegitimate. It used to be difficult for an unmarried woman or couple to get a birth certificate for a child, which in turn made it difficult to get a household registration and an ID card for the child. Lifting restrictions on the registration of births from outside a marriage better protects the rights of women and those born out of wedlock. Every woman has the right to choose to have a baby, whether married or not. Her decision should be respected and her rights should be protected.

Such a change in this regard is also in line with the change in people's ideas about marriage. An increasing number of young people do not consider marriage the only choice for establishing a family, and some do not regard marriage as a prerequisite for having a baby.

On the part of a local government, to register a birth and provide a birth certificate is not a discretionary power to prohibit a citizen from making his or her own choice, so long as such a choice is not against the law. The change to the regulations will also shift the focus of the birth registration work to encourage fertility willingness, officials said.

The latest statistics show that China's population shrank by 850,000 last year, the first negative growth in six decades. As the pace of its population's aging becomes faster, it is imperative for the country to stabilize its population growth rate, which dropped to 6.66 per 1,000 people last year.

In such circumstances, local governments should do whatever they can to encourage people to give birth to babies. The latest changes to local birth registration regulations are a move in that direction.

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