Reports last month wrongly indicated China was considering ending or seriously reforming it’s one-child policy. Now, new information out today shows that not only is China not curbing the policy, which has resulted in forced abortions and human rights abuses, but it has made $3.1 billion in fines against those couples who would dare to have a second child.
The new report provides more information about China’s top filmmaker, who released an open letter on his blog admitting he and his wife have three children. Why the fuss? Their two sons and daughter were not pre-approved by family planning officials.
The designer of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics, Zhang Yimou, and his wife “sincerely apologize to the public for the negative impact this event has caused.” His punishment may be millions in fines from flouting the policy:
In the Jiangsu province, where Zhang and his family live, couples with three children are required to pay between five and eight times their combined annual income, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
While China claims it has made $3.1 billion in support fees, estimates by lawyer Wu Youshui find that figure to be underreported. Youshui found that, in 2012, 23 out of 31 provinces brought in a combined $3 billion – ensuring the figure for all 31 is significantly higher than the $3.1 billion reported by the government.
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The revenue reaped from these exorbitant fees are theoretically supposed to fund the additional social services that these additional children need, however Youshui finds that this is rarely the case. Wu’s audit reveals that the money has actually been embezzled by authorities in the government.
“Not even one province can provide information about using and auditing the fines,” Wu told Reuters in September. Then, last July Wu said he’d “found the majority of those fees went into local authorities pockets.”
Local family planning officials launched an investigation in May when reports surfaced online of Zhang’s multiple children. Jiangsu province, where they live, fines parents with 2 “extra” children up to five to eight times their combined annual income.
Zhang produced the spectacular Beijing Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies. His films “Raise the Red Lantern” and “To Live” (about a man who just wants to live a simple life) have won international acclaim.
In the past few years, pictures of babies forcibly aborted have exposed China’s brutal practices. But this latest news is drawing attention to the draconian practices of officials who use family planning to control populations.