Parents in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, who circumvent the country's family planning law by having a second child in Hong Kong or overseas will not escape the social maintenance fee now that the loophole was closed Tuesday by the Standing Committee of the Shenzhen City People's Congress.
The regulation, which will come into effect on January 1, 2013, stipulates that all couples who possess a Shenzhen hukou, or household registration, must apply for a permit from the family planning committee before giving birth to a second child, no matter where the baby is born.
When couples try to register their second child for permanent residence in Shenzhen or if the child lives in the city for more than 18 months in two years, they will be charged a social maintenance fee, as are all mainland couples who have an unauthorized second child. In Shenzhen, the onetime fee is three times the city's average per capita disposable income of the previous year.
"Although authorities in other cities have made the same move, it's important for Shenzhen," said Gao Xiangdong, a professor of demography at East China Normal University. Gao said many Shenzhen parents-to-be take advantage of the city's close proximity to Hong Kong and Macao, and travel there during the ninth month of pregnancy.
"It's unfair to only fine parents giving birth to a second child on the mainland while letting those who bypass supervision escape," Zhou Rongsheng, deputy director of the Commission of Legislative Affairs under the Shenzhen City People's Congress, told the Nanfang Daily.