NPC members call for end to ‘social maintenance fee’

By Jiang Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-29 0:03:03

Six members of the National People's Congress (NPC) have put forward suggestions to abolish "social maintenance fees," the system used to fine people for violating China's family planning policy, while a draft regulation on fee collection has been opened to public opinion.

Huang Xihua, one of the NPC members, confirmed on Friday that their suggestion has been sent to the NPC Standing Committee office by Thursday.

It calls for the NPC to evaluate the negative impacts fee collection has on the society, reported news portal on Friday.

The State Council last week started to solicit public opinions over a draft regulation to amend the controversial practice of social maintenance fees.

But the six legislators said the authorities should abandon the fining practice at all instead of tinkering with the existing regulation introduced in 2002.

They said that the collection of social maintenance fees has violated citizens' legal rights. The suggestion added that China's birth rate has fallen below normal standard to keep the national population sustainable. "Investigation into the spending of social maintenance fees might yield appalling evidence of corruption and power abuse," Huang added.

More than 20 billion yuan ($3.25 billion) in social maintenance fees is reportedly collected nationwide each year, but there has been limited information on where the money goes.

 "The problems faced by the Chinese population are more than changing numbers. The nation needs to work on improving the structure and quality of its population, which cannot be achieved through mandatory measures," Zhan Zhongle, a law professor at Peking University, told the Global Times.

Abolishment of social maintenance fee does not equal abolishment of the family planning policy, according to Zhan.

"A new guideline on policy implementation is needed, instead of a compulsory use of public power," Zhan said. 

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