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Nouveaux riches challenge one-child policy
Updated: 2005-12-14 16:33

China's 'nouveaux riches' are not only competing with each to buy grandiose mansions and fast, expensive cars, their latest status symbol is a brood of children.

Quite a few of China's wealthy people are skirting China's one-child family policy by simply paying to have two or more children.

A woman shows her one-child certificate in Fuyang, Anhui Province in this November 14, 2005 photo. Some of nouveau riches choose to have their second or third child by paying a handsome amount of fine, challenging the country's basic policy on family planning. [newsphoto]
The one-child family policy was enacted in the 1970s to curb a huge population explosion. In 2002 the law was amended to allow ethnic minorities to have more than one child and peasants to have a second child if their first is a girl. The changes were never designed to allow city residents of have multiple babies.

The recent amendments imposed fines as a means to prevent families from giving birth to more than one child. However, affluent people are now simply paying the "social maintenance fee" for a second and subsequent child.

A Beijing newspaper says it's a throw back to old attitudes that equates large families with wealth, status and happiness.

Business tycoons and show biz celebrities are finding a number of ways of getting around the one-child family policy. Many simply pay the fine which can be as high as 150,000 yuan or about US$20,000 for urban dwellers or as low as 7,000 yuan or almost US$900 for rural residents. Some wealthy people are even emigrating abroad for the sole purpose of having a second or third child whom they bring back to raise in China.

A young millionaire named Yu is fairly typical of those seeking to spread their seed. He already has two daughters and a son and yet dreams of adding another baby boy.

"I respect China's traditional culture and values so it is natural for me - I have both fame and fortune, to have a much large family. This provides me with real integrate and value," he said.

Yu is already thinking about his family's future after he's gone. "More children means more choices, from which I will choose the most qualified heir to look after my family property," Yu added.
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