Birth registration in China: practices, problems and policies

Shuzhuo Li, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Yexia Zhang, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Marcus W. Feldman, Stanford University

Data from interviews with staff of government offices, relevant literature and national statistics are used to analyze laws, regulations, rules, policies and operational procedures concerning birth registration in China. The current status of and existing problems with birth registration, as well as the influences of delayed birth registration on children’s rights and welfare are examined. Finally, barriers to birth registration in China are explored and strategies to improve the process of birth registration and to protect children’s rights are proposed. The main findings are as follows: First, the rate of birth registration in China is low and in rural areas and for marginalized children, it is even lower. Second, the dual birth registration system and interference from the Population and Family Planning department cause serious administrative difficulties. Third, the serious problems surrounding birth registration in China are a result of interactions among the interests of different stakeholders.

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Presented in Session 216: Vulnerability and human rights