IMAGE: All Girls Allowed
[UPDATE: On September 5, 2012, China Daily reported that China's top auditor, the National Audit Office, will strictly monitor the use of over $2 billion in One-Child Policy fines. The office acknowledged that there has not been a thorough audit of these fines in recent years. According to a 2002 regulation, these fines should be used to cover over-quota children's share of public social resources. Also, after the writing of the original article, new results showed that over $2.7 billion had been collected in fines by 17 provinces. Click here for an excellent analysis of the report's results.)
BEIJING, China---Fifteen provinces in China collected a total of $2 billion (12.8 billion Chinese yuan) in fines last year for violations of the One-Child Policy, according to a study by 21st Century Business Herald, as reported by state-controlled outlet China Daily. China contains a total of 23 provinces, 4 municipality-provinces and 5 autonomous regions, so the total number of fines collected by the Ministry of Health and Family Planning is likely to have collected far more than the reported $2 billion.
The study was conducted in July by lawyer Wu Youshui, who was only able to obtain the information from 15 provinces. Wu had also requested information about how the fines were used, but none of the provincial Family Planning Departments provided that information. In an interview with Reuters, Wu said, "Not even one province can provide information about using and auditing the fines." He added, "A lot of the money is given back to the local Family Planning Commission and rewarded to officials who collected it."
Of the provinces that disclosed information, Sichuan Province levied the highest total of fines at $392.2 million (2.4 billion Chinese yuan). The results of this study are congruent with a report by All Girls Allowed last year that highlighted the excessive and exorbitant nature of One-Child Policy fines, as published on provincial Family Planning Department websites. Fines were found to reach several times the average annual income in both urban and rural areas.
Another report recently conducted by a research team led by Wang Pei'an, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Health and Family Planning, found that there have been increasing violations of the One-Child Policy in Jiangsu and Hunan Provinces, as reported by the Beijing Times (and translated by the state-controlled All-China Women's Federation). The report also found several other problems, including the widespread gendercide of girls, low support for families who complied with the One-Child Policy, and difficulties in managing a highly migratory population. The research team recommended that long-term support be given to families that adhered to the One-Child Policy, including medical, employment and retirement support.
These two reports come amidst an increasing crackdown on One-Child Policy violators. Henan Province residents are alleging that the Family Planning Department recently carried out a campaign to fine violators of the One-Child Policy in order to raise enough funds to reduce the government's budget deficit. The campaign, carried out in June by Xiping County Family Planning Officials, targeted some 17,000 government staff, Communist Party members and public employees. Such allegations are not uncommon, as there is little transparency about the usage of fines collected by the Family Planning Department.
Guangzhou, the capital of the southeastern Guangdong Province, made it illegal after August 1st for former violators of the One-Child Policy to receive a Guangzhou hukou, the registration required to live in a particular city and to receive access to health care, education and travel options. Since hukou's are linked to a particular city, the new law effecitvely prevents One-Child Policy violators from living in Guangzhou.
Brian Lee, Executive Director of All Girls Allowed, said: "These reports highlight two important and emerging realities in the Chinese landscape: First, the Chinese people have shown both in words and in action that they are against an oppressive policy that restricts their most intimate and fundamental rights. Second, the bureaucratic apparatus of the Family Planning Department is wastefully taking funds that should be directed towards the welfare of the people. We call on President Xi and Vice-President Li to order an independent investigation of the use of One-Child Policy fines, and to do what is right for the people by directing those funds for the benefit of the people. We pray that God would move the Chinese leadership to grant its people complete freedom from coercive family planning, that they may receive the full blessing of children that God desires to give them."