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China cancels unnecessary marital status certificate

Updated: Sep 18,2015 9:24 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The Ministry of Civil Affairs announced on Sept 17 that extra certificates that confirm an individual’s marital status will be scrapped.

In China when a citizen wants to apply for a bank loan, study abroad or emigrate, sometimes he or she is asked to prove their marital status. It is the responsibility of the civil affairs departments to supply these documents.

Civil affairs departments nationwide provided at least 8.41 million such certificates in 2013, more than for marriage registration, the ministry said.

“Such certificates are unnecessary and increase our workload,” said Wang Jinhua, a senior ministry official.

Without legal foundation, there is no reason why an institution should asked a citizen to prove his or her marital status, said Yang Zongtao, another ministry official.

If it is required by the law, the institution itself should contact the civil affairs department, rather than it being the responsibility of ordinary citizens, Yang said.

The policy will simply the procedure, the ministry said.

According to Yang, other government departments will adjust their policies accordingly.

Government red tape has long caused public ire. In May, even Premier Li Keqiang criticized it at a meeting, ridiculing that a citizen was asked to prove “his mother was his mother” when obtaining a government permit.

The central government has been simplifying administrative procedures and delegating power to lower levels since Li took office.