Child`s death causes furore over China`s one-child policy

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 16:50

Beijing: A 13-month-old boy has been fatally run over by a minibus in east China when a tussle broke out between his parents and officials enforcing China`s controversial one-child policy, causing a nationwide furore.

An official surnamed Bai, also a member of the Communist Party Of China, and a driver surnamed Cheng were detained after the baby boy was killed in the accident in Mayu township in Zhejiang Province on Monday.

Their arrests came after thousands demonstrated in front of the local government office demanding action.

The tragedy, highlighting the bitter side China`s one- child policy, followed an argument between local officials and the child`s parents concerning fines to be levied on the parents, as the boy was the family`s third.

In China, a family planning policy has been strictly implemented to rein in the nation`s surging population by encouraging late marriages and pregnancies, as well as limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first is a girl.

According to official media reports 11 officials enforcing the one-child norm asked boy`s parents Chen Liandi and Li Yuhong to pay a fine of 30,000 yuan (USD 4,773) for having a third child.

Chen said failing to pay the fine would have lead to detention.

A tussle ensued in which the boy was dropped to the ground.

The minibus started suddenly and went over boy crushing him to death. It was too late to pull the baby away from the bus, the father said.

Violent methods of enforcement by some family planning officials have angered the public in recent years.

Last June, a woman named Feng Jianmei from northwest China`s Shaanxi province was forced to abort her seven-month pregnancy, as the family was unable to pay a 40,000-yuan family planning fine.

Feng`s family was later paid compensation of 70,600 yuan in the form of an out-of-court settlement.

Monday`s incident took place in the midst of intense debate in China over the efficacy of the one child policy, which is held responsible for the country saddled with more and more old people.

China currently has about 185 million people above the age of 60 and according to an official report the figure is expected to surge to 221 million in 2015.

While the officials reiterate that the policy has been successful in limiting population to about 1.3 billion, averting 400 million births, it was expected to be reviewed by new administration headed by new CPC leader Xi Jinping after he takes over power next month.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - 16:50

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