A court in Mannheim has ruled that a boy would not have his rights protected in China and should be granted asylum. The 1-year-old is the fourth child of a Chinese couple living in Bruchsal, Germany.
A German court ruled on Thursday that a Chinese child should be granted asylum status.
Judges cited China's strict family planning policy, which restricts parents to bearing no more than two children, as a valid reason for asylum. The 1-year-old boy is the fourth child of a Chinese couple living in Bruchsal, Germany.
The decision means that Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees must now recognize the boy as a refugee. A spokesman for the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg said the decision could have repercussions across Germany.
The couple, who met in Germany and have lived in the country for several years, took the case to court because they feared that the child would face social discrimination in China.
All children born in Germany
The parents and their two oldest children currently live in Bruchsal with so-called "tolerated" residency status, which generally does not permit people to work and needs to be renewed on a regular basis. The third and fourth-born children had so far received subsidiary protection. All four children were born in Germany.
Although a child's asylum status can grant the family refugee status and protection, it stipulates that the family must have lived together in their native country. This was not the case in this instance, making it unclear if the entire family's residency status will change due to the court's ruling.
During Wednesday's hearing at the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg in Mannheim, the family's lawyer said the parents would not be able to offer their child a future if they were deported to China.
"He would not be registered, would not be allowed to go to school and would not receive any social benefits," he told the court. "He would be marginalized in every aspect of his development."
The court's decision overrules prior refusals for asylum issued by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Administrative Court of Karlsruhe.
China's two-child policy
For decades, China exercised a restrictive one-child policy for many families. Provincial governments imposed fines for policy violations, while second and third-born children faced restrictive access to education and social care. Exceptions were granted if the first child was a girl.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Chinese government has relaxed the policy somewhat, raising the allowance to two children per family. The previous policy put severe pressure on the country's pension support scheme, as fewer and fewer younger people supported the country's growing aging demographic. The new policy is expected to establish the 2.1 children per woman quota necessary for stable population numbers.
dm/sms (dpa, Reuters)