Chinese birth certificates are available in the form of notarial certificates (Chu Sheng Gong Zheng Shu or Chu Sheng Zheng Ming Shu).
While some notarial birth certificates will list stepparents or adoptive parents along with natural parents this is not always the case. In some cases the certificates will list only the natural parents covering up an adoption.
Notarial Certificates of Relationship (Guan Xi Gong Zheng [or Zheng Ming] Shu) in lieu of notarial birth certificates are unreliable and tend to be based solely upon the testimony of interested parties. Notarial birth certificates should be used because Notarial Certificates of Relationship may not be accepted.
Birth Certificates can be obtained from one of China's Notarial Offices (Gong Zheng Chu). Notarial offices are located in all major Chinese cities and in rural county seats. These offices are part of the Ministry of Justice structure but are separate from the people's court system.
Notaries in China do not perform the same functions as their American counterparts. An American notary only certifies that the person signing is who they say they are. Chinese notaries affix their signatures and office seal to certificates that attest to the probity of claims made by the applicants. By regulation notaries are empowered to issue certificates only after they conclude that the applicant's claims are true. In other words while an American notary only certifies the signature is legitimate the Chinese notary certifies that the document is legitimate.