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News of the Day ... In Perspective

10/02/2007

Chinese increase fines for having a second child; thousands riot over forced abortions

Although slogans in the advertising campaign for China’s one-child policy have softened, fines for violating the policy are increasing. The Hunan provincial People’s Congress is discussing new regulations that would fine couples who violate the one-child rule an amount eight times their income in the previous year.

Similar high fines initiatives have been adopted in Henan and Zhejiang provinces, where the incidence of female infanticides is at their highest.

People who can’t pay the fines may have their property seized and destroyed (LifeNews.com 8/6/07).

A rash of forced abortions in April precipitated riots in 28 towns. Officials hunted down pregnant women when family planning targets were missed. The news was reported in the United States because victims were able to communicate with the outside world via cell phones and the internet (Population Research Institute Weekly Briefing 7/9/07).

As many as 3,000 people clashed with police.

“They are destroying our families and killing our children. How can we not revolt?” said 29-year-old Liu Shamei, mother of two, confronted with a demand for $2,000, more than she could possibly pay. She saw two truckloads of armed police arrive in her village to quell the unrest.

One family who couldn’t pay said police invaded their home and took whatever they wanted, even tossing out the food being prepared for the children’s dinner. People fear having their life savings confiscated, and a lot of people were reportedly withdrawing their money from banks.

“Officials want to protect their political futures, and they can make a lot of money while they are at it,” said Li Jinsong, a lawyer representing a blind activist arrested for exposing excesses in the family planning campaign (LA Times 5/27/07).

The Xinhua News Agency claimed that those arrested in the riots were only to be “re-educated.” Good treatment in jail is unlikely, however, writes Steven Mosher (PRI, op.cit.). One activist was severely beaten by other inmates, on order from the guards.

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