Chinese citizens upset with couple forced to pay 320,000 yuan for violating the two-child policy

By Chen Shasha and Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/11 19:43:11

A teacher and children rehearse a show for the International Children's Day at a kindergarten in Xingye County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, May 29, 2020.

One couple in Panyu district, Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province were made to pay a "social support fine" worth 320,000 yuan ($45,326.4) for having a third child, and therefore violating China's two-child policy, which has since sparked controversy on China's social media platforms.

On May 7, the couple's bank accounts were both frozen as the court enforced the punishment, reported. The child's mother, surnamed Wang, said that the fee has made their lives unlivable, as their family's monthly income is only 10,000 yuan, which the Panyu authorities rebuked by suggesting the couple pay the fine in multiple installments.

The news sparked wide controversy on China's social media platforms, with many users questioning the rationality of fining the couple with such a high social support fee while China's policy regarding multiple children has become less strict in order to address the ageing of the country's population and ever decreasing birth rates. 

In fact, many legal experts slammed the rigid enforcement of the law by the local government, as it contradicts with the relevant changes in Chinese society.

The imposed social support fee, an administrative charge usually imposed on couples who have an extra child outside of the two-child policy, strictly conforms to local regulations, meaning that although it is legal, it is unreasonable to expect the family to pay off the fine in their circumstances, Huang Wenzheng, a demography expert and senior researcher from the Center for China and Globalization think tank, told the Global Times.

Many cities with similar regulations which require imposing fines for a third child tend to relax the regulation in recent years, Huang said.

Other Chinese citizens also emphasized that strictly enforcing the law will scare those who are not married or preparing to get pregnant from giving birth, considering that more and more young people are unwilling to get married or have children.

"That's a large sum of money; how can the parents expect to raise their children? I don't think the local government will be prepared to raise the child," said one Chinese netizen.

"We should really consider changing the two-child policy to help encourage people to give birth. It is a really strange situation to encourage people to have children, while also collecting fees from them at the same time," social media user Fengyesishui commented.

In a similar situation, one young couple in Guangdong's neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, who reportedly have 9 children, often receive a living allowance of 4,000 yuan per month from the local government due to their situation.

Local governments adopt different attitudes toward family planning policy, strict or lax, as some have been aware of the driving force of population on the long-term development, Huang said.

"It could be said that couples with more children are actually making a greater contribution to society; and will provide support to the country's pension system in the future. They should be subsidized, considering that the willingness of raising children has been decreasing," Huang said, predicting that China's family planning policy will be further opened up.

The country's demography experts had previously advocated to reduce the social support fee, after considering the country's changing demographic situation.

Some cities are considering whether to revise the family planning policy to encourage reproduction; for example, the Standing Committee of the 13th Henan Provincial People's Congress passed a regulation on June 3 allowing couples with a disabled child to have a third child, and remarried couples, who already have children, to have two more children.

The number of Chinese newborns has decreased for three consecutive years after the country implemented the two-child policy in 2016, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. In 2019, a total of 14.65 million babies were born in China, dropping by 580,000 from 2018, and by 2.58 million from 2017.

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus