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Transparency on social support fee is necessary | Updated: 2013-07-15 21:20

The government should clarify how the social support fee, the money paid for having more than one child, is used in case the family planning policy is misled, said an article in South Metropolis Daily (excerpts below).

Family planning is an important national policy that helps regulate the growth of the population. Parents must pay the government the compulsory social support fee for children born beyond the family planning policy's limit.

The fee is used to "adjust the use of natural resources, promote environmental protection and subsidize the government's input in social public causes", according to the top legislature.

However, the use and collection of the fee largely remains unknown to the public. It is estimated the fee amounts to more than 20 billion yuan ($3.23 billion) each year.

In some places, to encourage the officials of grassroots family planning commissions to collect the fee, 5 percent of the fee is reportedly handed to the provincial family planning authorities; 10 percent to the city authorities and 85 percent is left for the county and town authorities.

Collecting the fee becomes a profitable business and a reliable income source for officials of the family planning system. As long as the parents pay the fee, they can have as many children as they like.

This fee is not an administrative fine, but a compulsory administrative fee. The government has the obligation to reveal how the money has been used.

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