The Guardian’s Tania Branigan highlights the “heavy human costs” of China’s one-child policy, including the difficulties faced by second children unless their families play hefty fines:
Li’s parents Li Hongyu and Bai Xuling should have been allowed a second child, because both are disabled. But Bai fell pregnant unexpectedly and officials imposed a 5,000-yuan fine for their failure to get advance approval. The couple earned only 140 yuan a month. Then Bai’s state-run employer fired her for breaching the rules. They have spent years pleading with officials and trying to overturn the fine through the courts for a reconsideration. The Guardian was unable to reach Beijing family planning authorities for comment despite repeated attempts.
They insist they should not have to pay and that no one has told them how much it would cost to gain a hukou (household registration) for Li now
Fines are cumulative, said Hom, and because they are heavy to begin with many families are either unable to pay or go into debt to do so. Li’s parents now live on less than 2,000 yuan a month, for themselves and their daughter. [Source]
China’s top leaders are reportedly considering a change to the country’s family planning law that would allow a family to have a second child if one of the parents was an only child.