Too Poor to Afford Unfair Birth-Control Fines

February 5, 2010 7:30 pm Last Updated: February 6, 2010 1:08 am

Desperate and feeling helpless, a resident in Sichuan, China recently called the Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch as his last resort in an effort to get help. Wang Zhengquan lives in Taiyi Town and the local officials’ illegal collection of birth-control fines has left him feeling that he had no other recourse.

According to the Civil Rights & Livelihood Watch, the Taiyi Town government tried to collect 12,800 yuan (~US$1900) of social cost of upbringing. For the financially strapped Wang, there is no way that he could pay off this astronomical figure. “I have nothing at home and can barely feed my family,” said Wang.

According to Wang, he is the only son in his family, and so were his father and grandfather. Based on the Sichuan Population and Family Planning Ordinance, Wang is legally allowed to have two children. Wang said that to maintain their luxurious life style, the local officials “have to go after people like me.” The surprise was being fined more than a decade after the birth of his legally allowed third child.

When asked whether he had talked to people in the government to ask for a grace period or a reduction in the fine since he could barely get by, Wang replied that he had already spoken to officials several times. “I went to different departments trying to talk to people there. They just brush me off. I’m at my wits end!”

The government issued Wang one notice in 1994 and the other in 1996 insisting that Wang pay for the second child. Wang explained how he was considered having a second child twice.

“I now have three daughters. The second one was born in 1994 but since she was born handicapped, according to the Sichuan Family Planning Ordinance, I am allowed to have another second child, and that is my third daughter who was born in 1996.”

Read the original Chinese article.