29th November 2023 – (Wuhan) Chinese authorities have taken action against a hospital and a judicial institute in Wuhan following allegations of engaging in surrogacy services and issuing fraudulent paternity results. The move comes as China, where surrogacy is illegal, strives to address its declining birth rate.
On Tuesday, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announced the suspension of Wuhan Puren Hospital’s ability to issue birth certificates, and Wuhan Ruiboxiang Judicial Appraisal Institute’s judicial appraisal services have also been suspended. A dedicated task force has been established to investigate the alleged activities of both institutions.
The commission stated that it would hold individuals accountable in accordance with relevant laws and regulations once the investigation is complete.
The accusations against the hospital and institute were made by an online influencer named Shangguanzhengyi. According to the official China Daily newspaper, he claimed that the judicial institute provided fake paternity test results, enabling parents to obtain false birth certificates for non-biological children. The newspaper reported that the service reportedly cost approximately 180,000 yuan ($25,187) in cash.
This incident follows a recent case in which the director of a hospital in Hubei province was investigated for openly selling birth certificates. As a result, the hospital’s obstetrics and gynaecology department was compelled to suspend its operations.
Birth certificates hold significant importance in China as they are required for household registration, vaccinations, medical insurance enrollment, and application for a social security card.
China has been grappling with a declining birth rate, hitting a record low of 9.56 million births in 2022, the lowest since records began in 1949. The government has been implementing various measures to encourage childbirth and boost the country’s population growth.