China's population

Guangzhou professor fired for alleged breach of the one-child policy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 3:27am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 November, 2015, 4:11pm

A university professor in Guangzhou has been fired following accusations he broke the one-child policy, the latest academic to lose his job over the issue.

Cai Zhiqi, associate professor of chemistry at the South China University of Technology, was given notice three weeks ago for having two children, his lawyer, Lu Miaoqing said.

The university said Cai violated the one-child policy and should be sacked in accordance with Guangdong's family planning regulations.

Cai's first child was born in the United States in 2007 when he was working overseas and the other in Tianjin in 2010. Cai's first child is an American citizen and his second is registered to live on the mainland under the hukou system.

Lu said a notice from the National Population and Family Planning Commission in 2002 allowed mainlanders studying overseas to have a second child as long as they stayed abroad for over a year. Cai should be covered by the exception because the couple stayed in the US for two years, she said.

The professor had been discussing the matter with the university for about a year and was put under enormous pressure by the authorities to resign, Lu said. This was probably due to a review of the local birth control policy at the end of the year.

Cai said in an open letter to his students that he was shocked and felt powerless about his sacking, but he was still trying to fight to get his teaching job back.

"We are considering filing a lawsuit against the family planning office of the university or seeking labour arbitration for wrongful dismissal, or both," Lu said. "The university cannot deprive Cai of his right to work."

Cai's is the latest case of a university professor punished under the mainland's three-decade-old one-child policy.

Cao Tingbing, a chemistry professor at Beijing's Renmin University, jumped to his death from the ninth floor of a campus building in March after he was threatened with the sack for having a second child. Friends said he had been suffering from depression and had poor relations with some of his colleagues at the university, state media reported.

Yang Zhizhu, a former assistant professor at the China Youth University for Political Sciences in Beijing, was sacked in 2010 after his wife gave birth to a second child.

The policy allows couples in urban areas to have only one baby, but the central government announced plans last month to relax the rule for couples if one was a single child themselves.