Angry father of four sentenced to death for murdering family-planning officials

Man stabs officials for refusing to give his child registration papers after violating one-child policy

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 9:21pm

A man was sentenced to death today for killing two family planning officials after the bureau refused to grant identity papers for his fourth child.

He Shenguo, 33, was found guilty of murder by a district court in Guangxi province of carrying out the deadly attack in Dongxing city last year and wounding four others, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The court ruled that He should be denied political rights for life and must pay 280,000 yuan (HK$350,000) in damages.

He, who is from Daqiao villager under Maxing city, marched into the family planning bureau carrying a 50cm-long knife on July 23. Prosecutors said he stabbed the two officials dead and wounded three staff and a lawyer.

The defendant was enraged after the bureau rejected his application for household registration papers (hukou) for his fourth-child. The local officials explained they rejected the application because He, who had three daughters and a son, did not pay penalties for one-child policy violations.

China’s one-child policy, in force since 1979, allows rural parents to have more than one child if the firstborn is a girl. The one-child policy was also relaxed, allowing extra children for urban parents who were an only child.

He Shenguo reportedly had a history of mental illness and was diagnosed with a mental disorder in June 2010.

A witness at the scene said He had borne a grudge against the family planning system after his wife had to undergo forced abortions. Local officials did not confirm this.

The central government backed an easing of the one-child policy, which was imposed more than three decades ago to prevent overpopulation. This would allow couples where either parent has no siblings to have two children.

The exception is meant to counter China’s looming demographic problems, including a swelling elderly population, shrinking labour force and gender imbalance.

In 2012, China’s sex ratio rose to 115 boys for every 100 girls, while the working population began to drop last year. The birth rate fell to about 1.5 since the 1990s, well below the replacement rate.

China's enforcement of the one-child policy has at times come under fire, particularly owing to reports women were being forced to abort their babies. In one 2012 case, a woman was forced to terminate her pregnancy at seven months.

With additional reporting from Agence France-Presse