World

Family fined for having too many children

A couple with seven children in Beijing have been fined 700,000 Yuan (S$154,547) for breaching China's "one-child policy".

The couple had their first child in 1984, as reported by Shanghaiist.

Only the first three children were able to get a hukou, China's household registration certificate.

A document released last year by the local population and family planning commission revealed that the family had to pay the fine for the remaining four children who have no hukou.

According to the third child, Mr Zhang Zelong, who got his hukou in July, four out of seven of the children had to drop out of school.

The two youngest children are currently in primary school and may also need to drop out in the future.

Mr Zhang's younger sister, who does not have a hukou, was unable to get a marriage certificate, which means her children will also suffer the same problems.

She has since divorced and is now suffering from depression, explained Mr Zhang.

"Without a decent education, I can only find off jobs in small factories," he said.

A local official has been quoted as saying that the family has been repeatedly informed about that the fine is due. In the meantime, though, local authorities are turning a blind eye to the family's non-payment.

According to the Guardian, China has been moving to loosen strict birth control rules, calling the one-child policy a demongraphic 'timebomb'.

Since 2013, couples are permitted to have two children if one parent was an only child.

With a 1.3 billion-strong  ageing population and shrinking labour pool, the United Nations estimates that the country will have nearly 440 million people aged above 60 by 2050. This would result in a massive strain on government resources.

Sources: Shanghaiist, The Guardian

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