Claims to pay ‘second child deposit’ in China refuted

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Beijing, Feb 15 (IANS) An official with China’s top family planning authority refuted claims that newlyweds must pay a deposit before getting married to encourage couples to give birth to a second child, the media reported on Monday.

“The collection of a ‘second-child deposit’ is totally a rumour, and we have never issued such a policy,” the official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) told the Global Times on Sunday.

“The NHFPC has not received any complaints about the collection of such deposits,” added the official.

Some netizens said that local marriage registry offices were collecting ‘second-child deposits’ ranging from 1,000 yuan ($155) to 8,000 yuan. They claimed that the money would be returned after the family’s second child is born.

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Similar information about such “deposits” has been circulating on the internet since 2011.

Marriage registry offices in Liaoning, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces – which allegedly charged the ‘second-child deposit’ to newlyweds in 2016 – also also said the online claims are unfounded rumours.

China introduced its family planning policy in the 1970s. The policy was relaxed for the first time in 2013, allowing couples to have a second child if either parent was an only child.

China further relaxed the family planning policy in January 2016, allowing all couples to have a second child.

Population experts previously interpreted the move as a shift in the mindset from regarding population as a burden to encouraging childbearing as a way to tackle problems caused by a labour shortage and an aging society.

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