Birth Permits Not Granted to Students

October 27, 2005 12:00 am Last Updated: August 21, 2015 5:35 pm

A three-month pregnant doctoral student failed to acquire a “birth permit” due to her current student status. She has sought help everywhere but to no avail. Her baby could possibly become an “illegal resident” once born.

Rules in most areas of China stipulate that each couple of child-bearing age should have a “birth certificate” before their first childbirth. Some people call it a “birth permit” because it must be authorized by the government but is usually not easy to be granted. Birth permit application includes a fee. The permit also sets a period during which one should have the pregnancy. If the pregnancy does not occur by the specified date, the permit will be annulled.

According to Beijing Morning Post, this graduate student has been married for two years and was pregnant in August. She applied for the birth permit through her school because her household registration is there, but she did not get an answer. The staff at the university said that in the past, female students were not even allowed to give birth at all if they wanted to continue studying. They had to either abort the pregnancy or quit school. Now the policy has changed and allows students to have childbirth, but the school does not take care of any administrative issues regarding childbirth such as the birth permit.

This student has consulted the Beijing Birth Control Office, who affirms that a legal couple with student status could have a child. She was told, however, to get the birth permit first from her university. Without a birth permit, the newborn would not be able to register for a permanent residence, and both mother and baby would face deprivation of a series of services.

In February, China’s Ministry of Education released a new rule that revokes the marriage ban of college students. However, this rule fails to clearly state whether students studying at college are allowed to have a child. As such, the birth control units for colleges and universities insist on not granting birth permits to students for there are no related policies or birth quota for them.