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Recognising Adoption: Family relationships tested by birth control

Karine-Hinano Guérin
Translated by N. Jayaram
p. 53-60


This article is based on a survey conducted over two years in Kunming and its vicinity, as well as in the rural areas of Yunnan Province. It considers the relations between administrators (officials) and the administered (families) in the process of adoption procedures. After going over the regular, albeit little noticed, practices of adoption in China, the text analyses the interactions and negotiations that take place, case by case, as families turn towards local authorities in order to legalise the presence of a child they have acquired and taken charge of. The main focus is on the multiple and also contradictory legislative frameworks having a bearing on institutional procedures that, in view of their internal contradictions, widen the margin of manoeuvrability for local officials as well as adoptive families. The two sides thus come up with non-legal norms concerning what is best suited to such situations.

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Electronic reference

Karine-Hinano Guérin, « Recognising Adoption: Family relationships tested by birth control », China Perspectives [Online], 2013/1 | 2013, Online since 01 March 2016, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

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About the author

Karine-Hinano Guérin

Karine-Hinano Guérin holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Civilisation and Language, as well as in Sociology.

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