Chinese officials are getting rich off massive fines levied against parents who violate its two-child policy, says the chief of an organization that has worked for years to abolish the nation’s forced population control.
In a 2013 report, China’s National Audit Office confirmed that many of the massive fines were used to pay for salary bonuses and receptions – rather than funding public services for the “extra children.”
“Local family planning committees never use the money for children,” one Chinese expert told the New York Times. “They use this money as bonuses, or to upgrade office equipment, or even for foreign travel. Not even the central government knows what the money is used for.”
Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, says the human rights atrocities, including forced abortions, that result from the policy won’t stop.
“It would mean losing billions each year in ill-gotten fines routinely levied to terrorize the Chinese people,” Littlejohn said.
She explained that the penalties – which were previously known as “excess birth fines” and then “social compensation fees” – are an significant source of profit in China.
“These ‘terror fines’ are regularly well above the average annual income in a given region, and may be as much as ten times a person’s salary,” she said. “In high-profile cases, the fines may run in the millions of dollars, as in the case of film director Zhang Yimou, who is reportedly liable for millions in fines, based on income.”
Littlejohn also told the story of He Shenguo of Guangxi Province, who was executed Thursday for killing two Chinese family planning officials in 2013 after they denied his fourth child registration. The denial mean the children couldn’t pursue educations or access social benefits.
“Mr. He was unable to pay the fine for the ‘illegal’ fourth child: about $40,269 – an astronomical fee for a man of his means,” she said.
While the wealthy may be able to pay the fines, China’s poor often lack the means to do so.
That reality has led some parents to commit suicide. Others have been arrested or fired from their jobs.
In 2013 and 2014, two Chinese farmers reportedly killed themselves because they couldn’t pay the fees. One slit his wrists and another drank poison.
Littlejohn also cited a report from the U.S. Government Commission, which detailed China’s detention of a Shandong province couple with a 10-month-old baby. The couple was unable to pay the $22,600 “social compensation fee.”
And, she said, in 2012, a law professor was fired from his job after he failed to pay China’s $37,500 fine for his second daughter when the nation still enforced its one-child policy. Chinese officials ultimately confiscated the sum from his wife’s bank account.
“Such tactics have paid off big for the Chinese Communist Party: one estimate put the total revenue from family planning fines at $314 billion since 1980, with at least 3.29 billion reported in 2012 alone,” Littlejohn reported.
She continued, “The use of fines will remain in place under the new two-child policy. How many billions have been used to line the pockets of local officials? This lucrative system (or lack thereof) provides a strong incentive to keep coercive population control in place.”
As WND reported, the news that China was “abolishing” its one-child policy swept the cyberworld in late October.
But Littlejohn told WND the news coverage was misleading.
“Instituting a two-child policy will not end forced abortion, gendercide or family planning regulations in China,” she told WND. “Couples will still have to have a birth permit for the first and the second child, or they may be subject to forced abortion.
“The core of the one-child policy is not … the number of children the government allows. It’s the fact that the government is setting a limit on children, and enforcing this limit coercively,” she said. “That will not change under a two-child policy. The one-child policy does not need to be modified. It needs to be abolished.”
She said women will still be forcibly aborted under a universal two-child policy.
“We need to keep up the pressure until China abandons all coercive population control,” she said.
The Daily Mail said there have been “growing concerns” because the population of China is aging and not replacing itself.
The birth limit was enacted nearly four decades ago.
Two years ago, China’s communists leaders admitted there were problems with the policy and said some families would be allowed two children.
But Littlejohn said the nation has created its own “demographic disaster,” because in a society that values male offspring, tens of millions of unborn females have been destroyed. Gone are the brides, wives and mothers that would have been helpmates for tens of millions of Chinese males who likely will never marry.
The Daily Mail had reported that a Chinese economics professor has suggested poor bachelors in China “group together and share a wife.”
Littlejohn said Women’s Rights Without Frontiers calls on the Chinese government to enforce its ban on sex-selective abortion.
Her organization runs a Save a Girl Campaign, which sends a fieldworker to “appear at the door of a woman who is pregnant or who has just given birth, and is being pressured to abort or abandon her daughter, just because she is a girl.”
“We extend encouragement and practical help, offering a monthly stipend for a year to empower women to keep their daughters. We have saved almost 200 girls and are ending gendercide, one baby girl at a time.”
In August, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers took a complaint about China’s “forced abortions, sexual slavery and gendercide” to the United Nations.
WND also reported the most recent Trafficking in Persons report from the U.S. blamed the problem partly on China’s failure to drop the practice of forced abortions.
The report said the Chinese government’s “birth limitation policy and a cultural preference for sons create a skewed sex ratio of 117 boys to 100 girls in China, which may serve to increase the demand for prostitution and for foreign women as brides for Chinese men.”