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Financial benefits one child
The Chinese government has a wide variety of measures in place to ensure the one-child policy is still enforced, even after 30 years. The negative enforcements (financial punishments) are most well known. If you work for the government, having a second child will probably also influence your career. The government also uses positive enforcements though, in the form of free checkups, free delivery, free vaccinations, longer maternity leave etc. It's a whole system, without any obvious loopholes for the majority of people. We'll explore the financial benefits of one child in this article.
So how does this system work to help enforce the one-child policy? It all starts when you find out that you are pregnant. At that time you'll probably go to a nearby hospital to do some basic health-checks and monitoring of the unborn baby's health. Someone needs to pay for all these tests obviously and normally that's the mother. But if you go to the local PSB-office, and you get some proof that this is your first child, then all tests suddenly become free! So people really want to go to the PSB to report they are pregnant, because otherwise they need to pay for all the tests.

As far as I can tell, the hospitals will still do all the health checks when you don't get the permission, but this might be a "grey" area unfortunately. After nine months D-day (delivery day) arrives. In China you do not automatically deliver in the same hospital where you did your prenatal checks. In fact, you can shop around a bit. Here again it comes down to money. Without the government approval you need to pay around 5000 RMB to deliver the baby. This is quite a lot of money for many people (one month salary for example). And this of course assumes everything goes well and there are no complications, in which case the costs would be even higher.

Maternity leave: more for one child

After delivery the baby, the mother normally get 3.5 months maternity leave. If the mother needed a C-section to delivery the baby, she will get one additional month. Now comes the interesting part: if you hand in proof that this is your only child, you will get an additional month! You can obtain this proof by registering a Hukou for your baby. That means if you do not register the child, the mother will lose one month (paid) maternity leave.

Financial support raising a child

Parents get money from the government to support raising their child. Obviously only for one child with a Hukou. The amount is low though, and for most people will not be of any influence: both parents get 10RMB/month till the child is 18. So that means in total 20*12*18=4320 RMB.

Commercial insurances: possible loophole?

For Chinese mothers, one possible escape route could be to use a commercial insurance. My wife has a commercial insurance from her employer for example, in addition to the normal Chinese social insurance system that all employees have. This commercial insurance most likely also does not pay for additional children though. So there is no way to avoid paying all of the costs for the second child.
We have not been able to fully explore this path though: if you do not get a Hukou (see below) for the first child, the commercial insurance might never know about the first child. We'll add more information about this if we find it out. The policy is not very clear about it, partially because normally everyone always applies for a Hukou for the first child. This might be a useful loophole :)

Second child: rich versus poor

So for the second child there are definitely significant financial consequences, even before we consider the huge fine. Parents have to pay all the medical fees before and including delivery. To avoid paying the fine, many rich Chinese nowadays delivery in Hong Kong or even America. As an added bonus, they can also get the nationality of the birth country. As far as we can tell, the fine for a second child is usually(only?) applied when the parents apply for a Chinese Hukou.

Suppose you're not a rich Chinese parent, but really want two children. You went to cheap clinics to do the health checks and get the baby delivered. You payed for all medical expenses after birth such as checkups, injections etc. Even though parents are required to register their kid soon after birth, there is little the government can do to enforce this. So the parents avoid Hukou registration. Once the kid reaches the age to go to school though, the lack of a Hukou becomes worrysome: you will not be able to go to (free) public schools. In fact, later you can probably not even go to university. You cannot travel abroad and you can not get good jobs. So avoiding Hukou registration at birth (to avoid the fine) will result in even larger problems later in life.

Mixed couples: also influenced

For the first baby, the situation for Chinese couples and mixed couples is roughly the same. The Chinese mother can benefit from the insurance. After birth the parents can either apply for a Hukou or apply for a foreign Nationality. Getting both nationalities is also possible, but illegal. So from a financial standpoint, it makes sense to always do the first delivery in a public Chinese hospital.

For the second child, there is no longer any insurance (see possible loophole for commercial insurance). This means you don't need to go to public hospitals anymore. You can decide to use public or private Chinese hospitals. Private hospitals often are not much more expensive, and therefore a good option for mixed couples. Otherwise delivery in the home country or in Hong Kong is a valid alternative. All of these are much more expensive, so it shows that even for foreigners, the one-child policy has financial consequences if they live in China.

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3.26 Copyright (C) 2008 / Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 November 2010 )
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