Single mothers in China face Catch-22 when they apply for maternity benefits, but this woman is unbowed

For Chris Zou, a three-year odyssey through the Chinese court system has left her exactly where she started: tasked with raising her three-year-old son without government help.

Zou did not marry her son’s father but in 2016 decided to keep her child anyway. In 2017, the single mother tried and failed to obtain employer-provided maternity insurance because she could not provide a marriage licence.

Married couples in China are entitled to maternity insurance and to subsidies through a programme…

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