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Beijing scraps ‘bizarre certificates’ to cut red tape

Updated: Nov 17,2016 9:32 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Beijing has scrapped 74 certificates needed by various government departments, to streamline administrative procedures for the public.

In the past, more than 190 different certificates, ranging from personal identity to marriage documents, were required for various bureaucratic purposes in the city. Organizations that require such certificates include government departments, State-owned enterprises and public institutions.

“These certificates played a role in social management, but created many problems,” said a Beijing official at a meeting on Nov 15. “They have jeopardized work at the grassroots level and damaged the government’s image.”

It is urgent we scrap these redundant certificates to make things easier for the public, the official said.

One certificate required senior citizens applying for elderly care benefits to “prove you are alive,” which Chinese netizens dubbed the “bizarre certificate.”

Another required non-locals in Beijing to prove their marital status and status of their children. Residents usually had to return to their hometowns to get such certificates.

Under the new rules, many certification processes will be conducted by the government through cross-department enquiries or online information-sharing platforms.

In some cases, certificates will be waived and replaced with oral or written statements.

In 2015, a citizen’s experience of being asked to prove “your mother is your mother” went viral after he had been asked to give his mother’s name as an emergency contact for a travel visa.

Premier Li Keqiang cited the case when criticizing the country’s excessive red tape.