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Saturday, October 5, 2013

China's one child policy

Li Xue studying law at home

If you break the thirty year old rule by having a second child in China, you must pay a fine, usually based on the income of the family. Recently an article was written about 20 year old Li Xue, the second child of a couple who refused to pay the fine - 5 years income.

Bai Xuling

Because she has no ID card or household registration, officially Li Xue doesn't exist.  If you don't have hukou, you don't have a life. She's never been to school, can't even buy a train ticket, has no medical insurance and can't get a job.  She said it's also unlikely she will ever marry and have children.

But if you have plenty of money, the problem is easily overcome. Wealthy families have no trouble getting a school place for an undocumented child and many others make hefty "donations" to save their child from a life of misery.

Li's parents Li Hongyu and Bai Xuling are both disabled and should have been allowed a second child, but officials imposed a hefty fine for their failure to get approval in advance and Bai's state-run employer sacked her for breaching the rules.  They have spent years pleading with officials to overturn the fine and the family live on less than 2,000 yuan a month.

Another horror story about China's one child policy is on Sky News today.  Liu Xinwen 33 was six months pregnant with her second child when she was forced to abort her son.

At 4am her front door was kicked in and two dozen officials charged into her home.  They pinned her husband to the sofa and dragged her out of the house.  She was taken to hospital and injected with an abortion-inducing drug.

Officials refused to tell her husband where they had taken her and it took him five hours to find out.  But it was too late, he reached her side just minutes after she was given the injection to abort.  The baby died in her womb and was delivered the next day.  She was forced to sign papers saying she agreed to the abortion and if she didn't sign, they said her husband would be arrested.  Quou Guoqiang took a picture of his wife showing the foetus in an orange bucket next to her bed.

Liu Xinwen had a contraceptive coil fitted and was surprised when she discovered she was pregnant again at four months.  Fearing an abortion, they decided to keep it a secret and pay the fine after it was born but somehow, authorities found out.

Qhou Guoqiang and  his 10 year old son

Chinese watchers were predicting that urbanization was the way forward for China - that they intended to expand their cities and liberalize the laws.  Instead they continue the Hukou system and murder six month old babies in the womb.  

Although the Chinese government say the strict policy has helped millions of people leave poverty behind and become middle-class, it still remains the oldest and cruelest form of state control.