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February 20, 2013

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Hospitals to ask women giving birth for real-name registration

SHANGHAI is to trial real-name registration for hospital births and strictly monitor sex ratios, the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday.

At present, people without registered residency or medical insurance are not required to give their real names when they give birth in hospital.

Migrant people will be required to show identity certificates when registering newborn children, as the majority of children born in violation of family planning laws were delivered by migrant people, the commission said. The authority also plans to offer rewards for tip-offs of illegal births.

Identifying migrants who flout the family planning law will be a major task this year, the commission said.

Shanghai's population is steadily increasing due to more births and the rise in the number of migrants. But officials said the city had an unhealthy population structure due to the long-term low birth rate of the registered population and increasing numbers of elderly, officials said.

The downtown area is overcrowded and the number of people living there keeps rising, despite government efforts to encourage a better population distribution between downtown and outskirts.

By 2012, there were 23.8 million residents in the city, 330,000 more than the previous year.

Residents include migrant laborers who have been in the city more than six months. They now account for 40 percent of the population. There were 9.6 million migrant laborers in Shanghai last year, 250,000 more than in 2011.

The rise in the migrant population doesn't only result in more babies being born but also alters the city's sex ratio at birth because migrant people traditionally favor boys, commission officials said. Authorities have been cracking down on illegal clinics which tell parents the sex of their unborn child and offer abortions if the baby is a girl.

A total of 226,100 babies were born in the city last year, 25.61 percent more than in 2011. Of those, 121,100 were the children of registered residents, ending a 19-year stretch of negative population growth. The 105,000 babies born to migrant workers was 33.76 percent more than in 2011.

Last year the city's sex ratio was 112.4 boys to 100 girls, a drop of 0.7 from 2011, while the ratio among migrant people was 117.8, 1.4 below the 2011 figure.

The sex ratio of the registered population remains in the healthy norm of 103-107 boys to 100 girls, the commission said.

The commission's director, Huang Hong, said the high sex ratio, the high infertility rate and the high number of abortions due to unexpected pregnancies were serious population management challenges. About a third of abortions in the city involved unmarried young women.


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