New family policy attacks elites' egos

By Ma Lie and Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-19 07:29

Authorities in Shaanxi Province have introduced new measures to deter the rich, famous and influential from flouting national family planning laws.

According to Feng Yueju, director of the provincial population and family planning committee, Shaanxi is facing two key issues: Society's elite classes are having too many children, while poor families are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

"Financial punishment does little to deter certain celebrities and wealthy people, because they can afford to pay any fine," Feng said.

"However, what these people do treasure is their reputation, their status in society, and that is what we have focused on."

Under the new measures, as well as being punished under the terms of the law, any member of an "elite" group who breaks the family panning regulations will be deprived of certain privileges.

For example, they will be barred from holding honorary civic positions and also be ineligible to receive any kind of award, Feng said.

Influential people, such as Party and government officials and State workers, who break the family planning law, will face dismissal from their posts or even expulsion from the Party, he said.

Feng said the new measures also included giving more help to poor families in rural areas.

"Couples with one child will be given 600 yuan ($80) per person per year from the age of 55, while those who have lost their only child or the child was seriously injured will receive between 5,000 and 30,000 yuan a year," he said.

Xu Rishi, a resident of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province, said: "I think the new measures will help control the birth rate, and it is good that all people are seen as equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of how much money they have."

Family planning officials in South China's Guangdong Province have expressed a similar determination to crack down on those who believe they are above the family planning laws.

"We will never allow the rich or famous to become 'special citizens' with the right to have more than one child," Zhang Feng, director of the Guangdong population and family planning commission, said.

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