Zhejiang Province, China — A 13-month-old toddler died this week after being run over by family planning officials as they argued with his parents about the country’s child limitation policies.
According to reports, eleven government officials descended upon the home of Chen Liandi and his wife Li Yuhong in Mayu and demanded that they pay the equivalent of $4,800 in fines for giving birth to a third child without authorization. In China, most urban areas have a one-child policy, and families in rural areas are allowed up to two children. Family planning representatives allegedly threatened to detain the mother if the family did not pay the fine. The couple states that they were detained following the birth of their second child, who is now 11.
As Chen and Li argued with officials over the matter, the boy slipped out of his father’s arms. It is not known exactly what happened next, except for that officials ran over the toddler with their van. It is also stated that Chen hurried to pull his son away from the vehicle, but it was too late. The toddler was transported to the hospital, but died on Tuesday.
The driver and one of the family planning representatives were detained by police following the incident. One of the men is being identified as a local communist party chief named Bai.
While some state that the Chinese government has been backing off of their practice of forced abortion or sterilization and has rather focused on fining those who give birth without permission, others note that the matter remains a concern throughout the country. As previously reported, last June, a woman named Feng Jianmei was beaten and forced to abort her daughter, then seven months in gestation. Outrage erupted worldwide after pictures surfaced showing the woman lying in bed next to the lifeless body of her baby girl.
“[The] women’s womb is owned by the state. It’s just a horrible, horrible practice,” Bob Fu of China Aid told Christian News Network following the situation.
He explained that in China, when a woman marries, she is subjected to regular physical checkups, and the government keeps a very detailed record of her status. She must also obtain a permission card before she gets pregnant, or she still may be forced to abort her first child.
Fu further noted that if a woman does not obtain permission, or if she becomes pregnant a second time and does not schedule an abortion, she is required to pay a “Social Burden Compensation Fee,” which is customarily priced four to six times higher than the income of the family, making it impossible to be paid.
“It’s a very cruelly implemented situation,” he said. “It’s the greatest atrocity against women and children in this century.”
“I would really encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray [and to] urge our government to stop … using taxpayer money to support this policy,” Fu said. “I think that we should tell our government leaders that they will be held accountable.”
ChinaAid has been working closely with Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, an ardent pro-life congressman, to fight for the women and children of China.