Many parents resist lure to declare second child – and head for HK
Shenzhen residents having second children in violation of the mainland’s one-child policy now face substantially reduced fines. But some young residents say it is still more cost-effective to give birth to a second child in Hong Kong and have questioned the Shenzhen authorities’ motives.
The authorities amended local family planning regulations on October 11, cutting the standard fine from three times the offenders’ annual incomes to two times. And poorer parents will even be allowed to pay off the fine over three years.
Local family planning authorities have said the amendments are designed to encourage more families to register faithfully for the national census and confess the actual number of family members.
Guangdong pioneered strict penalties in 2002 to control the high birth rate, with both parents having to pay a fine of between three and six times the local average annual income for each unauthorised birth.
Richer offenders, who earn more than ordinary people, face higher fines – ranging between one and two times the amount their income exceeds the local average.
For example, the average annual income in Shenzhen last year was about 30,000 yuan (HK$34,750). Under the old rules, a poor person would pay a fine of three times that – 90,000 yuan. Now they will only pay 60,000 yuan.
But if a white-collar employee earned 200,000 yuan last year, they used to pay a maximum fine of 520,000 yuan and a minimum of 260,000 yuan. Now, under the latest rule, the minimum fine would be 230,000 yuan.
The amended regulations still stipulate that offenders working for government departments will be sacked and those working for government-linked organisations and state-owned businesses will be barred from promotion.