In recent years, tycoons and celebrities flouting the birth control regulations have become a hot social issue. Recently, 11 ministries and commissions, including the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Family Planning Commission, collectively issued the Notification on Strengthening the Policies and Measures concerning the Population and Family Planning. The notification rules that the amount of the "social child-raising fee" shall be determined by the birth control violator's income level.
Citizens are showing great concern about how to impose fines on the rich who disobey birth control laws. The question is: how much they should be fined?
This is what happened recently in Guangzhou: a pregnant woman accompanied by her husband strutted in to visit their local birth control office. They took out a red bankbook, flung it on the desk and said, "Here is 200,000 yuan (US$26,570), impose as much of a fine as you want. We need to take care of our future baby. Please do not come to disturb us."
According to one Guangzhou family planning worker, in some expensive blocks and villas one can now and then see young mothers taking a walk with two or three kids. Most of these families are business owners. They do not fear fines and they neglect birth control, freely giving birth to more than one child. "A poor family hides away when giving birth to more than one child, while the rich man simply pays a fine to have more than one child."
"Guangdong will not allow rich people or celebrities to become 'special citizens'," said Zhang Feng, the deputy-secretary of the Guangzhou government and the director of the Guangdong Family Planning Commission, yesterday in an interview with the reporter. He further expressed that it was not fair that rich people and celebrities could disobey the one-child policy. He stated that those who made a negative impact on society would be publicly exposed and be strictly punished. Guangdong worked out the Regulations of Guangdong Province on Population and Family Planning in 2002 and took the lead in imposing heavy fines on high-income citizens who have violated the one-child policy.
Article 55 of the Regulations of Guangdong Province on Population and Family Planning prescribes that: Urban residents who give birth to a second child, shall pay a lump social child-raising fee that ranges between 3 and 6 times of their last year's income. This fee shall be collected based on the last year per capita disposable income of the urban residents of the local counties (cities or districts). Those who earn more than the above mentioned income shall pay a higher social child-raising fee, ranging between one and two times of the sum exceeding the average income.
The Guangdong law stipulates a formula to calculate the fines for rich violators of one-child policy. For example, the per capita disposal income of the Tianhe District in Guangzhou last year was about 200,000 yuan. If one private enterprise boss in this district earned 200,000 yuan last year, he would pay a maximum social child-raising fee of: 20,000×6+(200,000-20,000)×2=480,000 yuan (about US$63,763) and a minimum 20,000×3+(200,000-20,000)×1=240,000 yuan (US$31,884). This is only the fine for one of the couple. The fines for both members of the couple would be much more. And for those who have more than two children the fines will be doubled.
Family planning cadres at the grassroots level complained to the reporter that despite the clear regulations, many difficulties exist regarding the practical implementation of these regulations. It is relatively easy to clarify the income of the employees of state and collective enterprises and institutions. But it proves extremely difficult to determine the actual income of many private enterprise bosses and celebrities. Some of them even transfer their assets and real estate properties, making it hard to impose an exact fine on them according to their actual income.
With regard to this problem, related responsible persons in the Guangdong Family Planning Commission said that family planning departments will study and put forward more detailed policies according to the Notification on Strengthening the Policies and Measures Concerning the Population and Family Planning. They are considering working with taxation, commerce, labor and banking departments and imposing more severe penalties to prevent the current trend of the rich giving birth to more than one child.
(China.org.cn by Zhang Ming'ai, September 18, 2007)