China's population

Disabled register 'used to defy one-child policy'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 November, 2015, 4:12pm

Some officials are believed to be classifying their first-born children as disabled to get around the one-child policy, mainland media reported.

A list released recently by the population and family planning commission in Lengshuijiang, Henan province, showed that the fathers of nine of the 23 children registered as disabled in the small city worked for the local government. The list was obtained by the Chongqing Evening News on Wednesday.

Mainland families may have a second child if their first is classified disabled by a doctor and would be unable to work in adulthood. The high proportion of officials on the list has led some to question the validity of their children's ailments.

'It is not the first time officials have had a second child using the excuse that their first child had a disability,' said He Yafu, an independent demographer and expert on mainland family planning policy. 'I read a similar story two years ago when 20 or so officials in Danfeng county in Shangluo, Shaanxi province, asked to have a second child with the same excuse.'

Yang Zhizhu, a university professor in Beijing, was fired at the end of last year after his wife gave birth to a second child. In September, he took to the streets offering himself as a lifelong slave to anyone who would pay his family's 240,000 yuan (HK$278,200) fine and give them additional money to live on.

Although Yang's case shows the draconian measures meted out to some offenders, the rich and those with the right connections are often able to circumvent the rules. Many travel to Hong Kong or further afield to give birth, but others simply have their children on the mainland and disregard the one-child policy.

Last month, the Jiangxi provincial government released the findings of a five-month investigation into compliance with the policy by officials, Communist Party members and the rich. It uncovered 221 cases of party members and officials failing to register a second child in the city of Yichun alone.

It was not hard to cover up second children, according to He.

'Some people are close to officials in the family planning departments. Having these relations makes it very easy to get permission to have a second child,' he said.

Internet users have been quick to condemn the officials' actions, as well as to note the propensity of female names among those classified disabled.