by Steven Ertelt
January 2, 2008
Beijing, China (LifeNews.com) — Since the Chinese government instituted its family planning policy prohibiting more than one child per couple, it is believed that no one has paid a higher fine for violating it than Li Shaoqing. Li, the head of a cement mixing company, was ordered to fork over $100,000 US because he fathered a second child in 2006.
The fine is somewhat surprising given that Li was a member of a government advisory body in Xiaochang County where he lives.
In addition to paying the stiff penalty for violating the law, which has caused an epidemic of forced abortions and sterilizations in the Asian nation, Li lost his seat on the government panel.
AsiaNews reports that Chinese officials are doing more to enforce the law among wealthy Chinese citizens, who frequently bribe family planning officials while poorer residents lose their jobs or head to prison for their inability to pay the fines.
According to the news service, 1,678 officials, celebrities and wealthy Chinese in Li’s county alone were found to be in violation of the one-child policy.
Hubei family planning official Jiang Zhongsan told AsiaNews that he doesn’t think the stiff fines will deter those who can afford to pay them from violating the law. He indicated they “could do little to deter such violations.”
Jiang also said some wealthy Chinese use loopholes in the law to get around the fines — sometimes having children in affairs.
China has come under fire for the one-child population control policy and, last year, 4 members of Congress signed onto a letter to President Hu of China asking him to release Chen Guangcheng from prison.
Chen, who exposed a brutal forced abortion campaign in Linyi involving thousands of women, has been jailed for months following an illegal trial which saw him convicted on trumped up charges and his attorneys detained.
“The right to life is the most essential of all human rights, and prosecuting Chen for peacefully defending this right reflects the low value the Chinese government places on human dignity," Congressman Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, told LifeNews.com in a press release.
"The inability for citizens such as Chen to dissent indicates the lack of respect for other essential freedoms in China as well," he said.
Chen was sentenced to four years and three months in prison in August 2006 on charges of “instigating others to obstruct traffic.”
Franks told LifeNews.com the jailing of Chen and numerous other human rights abuses make it so China is a poor choice to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, which attempt to foster worldwide unity and human dignity.