Health officials from S. China’s Guangxi suspended from work for disregarding petitions from the public
Published: Jul 05, 2022 07:20 PM
Photo: Screenshot from Sina Weibo

Photo: Screenshot from Sina Weibo

Major officials from the health bureau of a county in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were suspended from their work on Tuesday for ignoring petitions from the public and administrative omission after the authority's refusal to investigate a suspected child abduction case caused widespread controversy and public concerns with a so-called social reallocation policy of excessively born children involved in the 1990s. 

A letter from the health bureau in Quanzhou county in the city of Guilin responding to a couple's request to initiate an investigation into their abducted child has sparked widespread controversy after the health authority said that the child was not kidnapped but was taken away by the then authority for reallocating children born excessively according to the family planning policy. 

According to the letter, the couple named Tang Yueying and Deng Zhensheng from Quanzhou had requested the local public security department to launch an investigation into a group of local former officials whom they suspected had abducted their child in the 1990s. 

In response to their request, the health authority in Quanzhou replied on July 1 that the case won't be placed on file for investigation since the child - the couple's seventh one - was not abducted but was taken away by the then authority for "social reallocation" due to the family planning policy. 

The county had strictly implemented the family planning policy in the 1990s in a bid to control the population's size and improve the population's quality, said the letter. One of the children excessively born in the families who violated the family planning policy would be selected to be reallocated. 

Tang and Deng's seventh child born excessively was taken away for a unified "social reallocation" and there was no child abduction and human trafficking behavior, the authority replied, adding that there is no record of the whereabouts of those children who were reallocated for the convenience of the family planning work rolled out across the county. 

The incident immediately sparked widespread controversy for the inhumane "social reallocation" policy despite the authenticity of which is yet to be verified, as well as the indifferent attitudes of the grass-roots government departments toward their historical errors and the harms they had caused if such a policy did exist. 

Both the director of the Quanzhou county health bureau and the deputy director related to the incident were suspended from their work for disregarding the demands of the public and omission of their administrative duties, according to a statement released by Guilin People's Government on Tuesday afternoon. 

After the incident, a joint work group has been formed by the city government to conduct a thorough investigation in a bid to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the petitioners, the statement said. 

An employee from the office of Quanzhou people's government told the Global Times on Tuesday afternoon that the authority was still verifying the authenticity of the letter and the "social reallocation" of extra children born in the county in the 1990s. Relevant investigation results will be released accordingly. 

According to an official surnamed Deng from the population and family department of Guilin health commission, such a reallocation policy for excessively born children did exist in Guilin in the 1980s, Tianmu News reported on Tuesday. Since the incident happened a long time ago, the authority was digging into the documents for the specific policies, Deng told the media. 

Police on Tuesday announced an investigation into the case against the former local officials alleged to have been involved in the child abduction in the 1990s, although it did not specify why they were under investigation, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday.

Global Times