GUIZHOU, China--Last month, desperate father Wang Guangrong ended his life after the local government denied school access to his “over-quota” children.
Family Planning Officials had slapped Wang with a fine exceeding 10,000 yuan ($1600) for his extra children, but it was too massive for him to pay. In February, Wang attempted to register his children for classes at the local school, but the school demanded that he first provide proof that he had paid the One-Child Policy fines. Wang appealed to local officials for mercy, but they denied his requests. Hopeless, Wang killed himself on March 3.
Wang had four children total.
News of Wang’s suicide spread quickly and eventually reached the ears of high school teacher Hong Wei in Guangdong Province. Hong was outraged and demanded that the Chinese government publicize One-Child Policy punishment details and include whether punishments will affect education for “over-quota” children. In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Hong complained that the Chinese government constantly punishes violators of the One-Child Policy, but never reveals the terms of punishment to the public. “As a teacher, this is something I want to know.” Hong said.
Cheng Yuan, director of Guangzhou Equal Opportunities Center, supported Hong in his stand. Cheng commented on the vast amount of “social support fees” that China collects from violators of the One-Child Policy, and said that nobody actually knows what happens to that money. The Chinese government claims that it collects these fees to “compensate for the sacrifice society has made to raise up over-quota children,” but the fees are usually too much for families to pay and the destination of the money is unclear.
Cheng says the One-Child Policy is unconstitutional. He believes that it harms the basic rights of the Chinese people and that the government unjustly withholds details from the public. "Every law that the government implements should be made transparent to the Chinese people," Cheng said. "Otherwise, the notion of the 'rule of law' will remain as elusive and meaningless as ever."
This is not the first time a desperate parent has committed suicide over One-Child Policy fines. In December 2013, 45-year-old farmer Ai Guangdong killed himself by drinking pesticide after the government fined him 60,000 yuan ($9,882) for having three children. Additionally, in July 2013, 16-year-old Cai Yanqiong attempted the same method of suicide after learning that she, like Wang’s children, would not be able to attend university because she was “over-quota”.
Nor is this the first time people have complained about lack of transparency in relation to these fines. In 2012, a report by lawyer Wu Youshui revealed that the Chinese government had collected $2.7 billion in “social support fees” that year. Following that report, China’s top auditor revealed in 2013 that from 2009-2012 Family Planning Officials had misappropriated 1.6 billion yuan ($261.4 million) in One-Child Policy fines. After this, Wu Youshui requested (under the Chinese Ordinance on Open Government Information) that Guangdong’s Ministry of Health and Family Planning reveal how certain funds were being used. The Ministry refused to disclose the information, so Wu filed a lawsuit against them. In April, the court ruled that Guangdong had 15 days to disclose the information to the public.
For years, China has kept the details of One-Child Policy fines and punishments confidential. Fathers like Wang Guangrong agonize over these impossible fines, yet the government refuses to say how they use the collected money. The 2013 report suggested that much of this money ends up in the hands of Family Planning Officials themselves.
Lawyer Wu Yousui is still challenging the government where he sees their corruption and unjust policies. Perhaps if more people join him in speaking out, stories like Wang Guangrong's will be fewer.
by Emilie, All Girls Allowed
All Girls Allowed (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org) was founded in 2010 with a mission to display the love of Jesus by restoring life, value and dignity to girls and mothers in China and revealing the injustice of the One-Child Policy. “In Jesus’ Name, Simply Love Her.”