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January 2, 2008

China's Family Values: The More Valuables, The More Family

China's infamous one-child policy has women undergoing forced abortions and the proletariat paying heavy fines for their supposedly excessive procreation. The rich, meanwhile, have a completely different experience in China. Their fines go mostly uncollected, and they have other means to increase their multitudes:

A growing number of rich and powerful people in central China are brazenly flouting the country's one-child policy, a newspaper said Wednesday.

The violations in Hubei province are leaving local family planning officials powerless, the Beijing Morning Post reported. Even when fined by authorities, many rich that have openly ignored the rules are slow to provide the money, the newspaper said.

In one case, a person was fined $106,000 for having a second child, the highest amount ever in Hubei, but has only paid $14,000, the paper said.

The report said 1,678 people, including government officials, were punished in 2007 for not adhering to the policy, which has been in place for almost 30 years. There were no details about the punishments.

Polygamy has become popular as a dodge for the rules. Rich men will keep two wives in order to get around the rules, sometimes faking divorces in order to make that work. The wealthy also attempt to pass off children as handicapped, as the state allows an exception to the rule when the first child has some sort of incapacitation.

As I noted in May, the top-down governmental action of the one-child policy has turned children into status symbols. At that time, Beijing had announced a "shaming" policy to bring violators in line, but people don't give up their reproductive imperative quite that easily. Those who have it tend to flaunt it, and as a result, there are now two Chinas: one free to have children, and the other not.

This will erode confidence in the government. As the history of Communism shows, a population will endure privations for a greater mission, but only when they perceive that everyone makes the same sacrifices. If a ruling class of elites can run roughshod over such an intrusive ban as the one on procreation, the hoi polloi -- whose long-term financial stability rests on having children -- will soon produce a backlash the likes Beijing has not seen in decades.


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