China's rich and famous defying one-child policy
China National News
Monday 15th June, 2009

Beijing, June 15 : China's rising affluent urban class has been defying the nation's family planning policy of not having more than one child, it has emerged.

Having more children abroad and paying huge fines outright is fast becoming a trend among the rich and famous Chinese people, policymakers and sociologists claim.

The China Daily quoted Zhang Weiqing, the former director of the State Family Planning Commission, as saying that the rule breakers have cast a huge shadow over the policy, denting social equality and even stability.

Figures from local authorities show that women from the Chinese mainland gave birth to nearly 78,000 babies in the Hong Kong special administrative region from 2001 to 2009, a choice the families made to skirt the restrictions, experts say.

"I delivered my second girl last year in Hong Kong, where I don't need a permit for the birth," said wife of a real-estate businessman.

She said she paid 80,000 yuan to a travel agency in the capital of Jiangsu province for travel and medical expenses to "fulfill her dream family of a son and a daughter".

Now, the National Population and Family Planning Commission is said to be considering a new policy curbing nationals from having second or more babies outside the mainland.

"Due to the rising mobility of Chinese citizens and the social transformation from the country's reform and opening up from the late 1970s, it has become tougher to regulate the policy," Zhang said.

In 2006, the government increased the penalties by imposing a fine amounting to 10 times the annual average per capita income of the area the violators live in.

"But this sort of fine is a piece of cake for the rich. So the government had to hit them harder where it really hurt - at their fame, reputation and standing in society," said Zhai Zhenwu, a sociology professor with Renmin University of China.

The rich and famous have been shamed and stopped from receiving public honors. Pop stars can be barred from public shows or TV programs; and businessmen in the private sector, from government contracts.