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Premier: Mother case shows we must cut red tape

Zhang Yunbi
Updated: May 28,2015 11:15 AM     China Daily

The question, “How do you prove your mother is really your mother?” has gone viral on media outlets and social networks after Premier Li Keqiang referred to it as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy.

It is thought that the offbeat question was first aired publicly in an opinion article published by People’s Daily on April 8.The article mentioned the problems a Beijing resident surnamed Chen had while filling in a form before a family trip abroad.

Chen wanted to name his mother as the emergency contact during the trip, but an official asked him to provide paperwork to confirm his relationship with her.

Premier Li raised the case at the State Council executive meeting on May 6, and his reference to the excessive demands made by local authorities caused the hall to erupt in laughter.

“It was utterly ridiculous,” the Premier said. “He was only hoping for at rip to relax.”

The meeting discussed ways to further streamline administration and delegate powers.

Premier Li said red tape must be cut and excessive bureaucracy slashed to benefit the public.

He asked, “Are the administrative organ staking a responsible attitude or introducing stumbling blocks deliberately to the public?”

Many netizens on echoed Li’s criticism, with some pointing out that it was appropriate the case had come to light in the run-up to Mother’s Day on May 10.

An online survey hosted by found that 98 percent of the 12,500 participants said they “experienced difficulties in applying for certificates” from official bodies.

The three most common problems were bad attitudes by public servants or attempts to shirk duties, the large number of documents required and excessive procedures, according to the survey.

The Premier’s comments also attracted support from the domestic media.

An opinion article in the May 7 edition of Beijing-based China Youth Daily said the case exposes the difficulties that affect public information services, and added, “There are drastic gaps among governmental departments that lead to a failure of information sharing”.