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China To Augment Fines For Couples Who Violate One-Child Policy

Armen Hareyan's picture

One-Child-Per-Family Policy

The Chinese government recently ordered local authorities to checkincomes and financial statements before issuing fines for couples whoviolate the national one-child-per-family policy, the South China Morning Post reports (Pinghui, South China Morning Post,9/15). China's one-child-per-family policy seeks to keep the country'spopulation, now 1.3 billion, at about 1.7 billion by 2050. Methods ofenforcing the policy, such as fines and work demotions, vary amongChinese provinces and cities (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 8/27).

According to the Morning Post, the National Population and Family Planning Commissionand 10 other ministries and bureaus in a joint statement released onNPFPC's Web site said that fines will be adjusted according to incomelevel. The policy was approved five years ago, but local authoritieshave not enforced it effectively, the Morning Post reports. The statement said that people who violate the policy will be recorded in the People's Bank of China's credit system, but it did not say how the information would be used, the Morning Post reports.

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Thestatement said influential people and public figures should "set a goodexample" by following the law. The "relevant authorities must makeobeying the family planning regulation a basic requirement of hiring orpromoting a cadre," the statement said, adding, "It should be a keyfactor in deciding whether a person is qualified to be a delegate tothe party congress at all levels or as a deputy to the NationalPeople's Congress and the Chinese People's Political ConsultativeConference." According to the statement, "Any public figure whodeliberately violates the policy will be publicly denounced andseverely punished according to the law."

According to Reuters,government media recently has released an increasing number of reportsabout officials, entertainers and business executives having more thanone child, and some provinces have scaled up enforcement of theone-child policy (Reuters, 9/15).

Opinion Piece

To enhance China's "long-term economic outlook," the country mustrecognize that its one-child policy "has been a tragic and historicmistake" and must "abandon it, immediately," Nicholas Eberstadt,resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, writes in a related Wall Street Journalopinion piece. According to Eberstadt, the "superficial success" of thepolicy to reduce the country's fertility rate "comes with immenseinadvertent costs and unintended consequences," including China's"incipient aging crisis, its looming family-structure problems and itsworrisome gender imbalances."

Some Chinese officials might"worry that the end of the one-child policy might mean the return tothe five-child family -- but in reality, modern China is most unlikelyto return to preindustrial fertility norms," Eberstadt writes. Heconcludes, "Trusting China's people to act in their own self-interest... may very well prove to be the key to whether China ultimatelysucceeds in abolishing poverty and attaining mass affluence in thedecades and generations ahead." According to the Journal, Eberstadt's opinion piece is an excerpt he delivered at a World Economic Forum conference in Dalian, China, earlier this month (Eberstadt, Wall Street Journal, 9/17).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.