2 June-2014, Ryan Kilpatrick: A mixed African-Chinese boy in Shanghai has finally received a hukou and identity papers after more than a decade of battling for recognition—both as a local with the same rights as any other child, and also as a lawful son to his adoptive parents.
Mixed marriages between Chinese and Africans, together with their progeny, have become somewhat of a point of fascination for domestic audiences as of late. In 2012, then 17-year-old mixed race model Lin Huifen from Shanghai was all rage. Front pages across the country were resplendent with vivid descriptions of her jet black hair, shimmering eyes and towering figure—but the main attraction was, of course, some pictures to gawk at.
However, it is not Zhu Junlong’s distinctive features or uncommon stature that make his story exceptional. Like a figure out of a fable, he was discovered swaddled in a bamboo basket by farmer Zhu Shuibao, hidden in the grass near her home in the Pudong New Area, according to Shanghai Daily. Just like that, she took the abandoned baby home and raised him along with her husband—no adoption papers, no hukou, nothing.
For more than ten years, “Granny Zhu” has been trying to convince authorities to give her son identity papers, but as a mother of three she was considered unqualified to adopt under Chinese law. This week, however, her efforts have at last paid off. An adoption certificate was finally issued to make the family’s relationship legal, and young Junlong is now the lucky recipient of an urban hukou, entitling him to education, healthcare and other social services. When he turns 16, he will also receive an identity card, and eventually a one-bedroom flat in Beicai Town where his adoptive family lives as well.
Junlong is currently in the ninth grade at Jianping Middle School, and plans to go onto further study at a technical school, according to his now legally recognized mother. “Age is catch up with me,” Granny Zhu concluded, “I just wish for my boy to have a fulfilling life.”