The suicide of one Chinese father is exposing China's brutal one-child policy.
Loving fathers sacrifice for their kids, but rarely does this include committing suicide. Wang Guangrong felt compelled to take that step.
Wang, a farmer in rural southwest China, and his wife, Wu Jinmin, defied the local family planning officers by having four children, the last two “unauthorized.”
Under the current one-child policy, rural Chinese are generally permitted a second child only if the first is female. (A common Chinese pejorative for baby girls is “maggots in the rice.”)
Among the tools at the disposal of local family planning officials to prevent and punish unauthorized births are monitoring the menstrual cycles of all local women of reproductive age, regular pelvic exams, forced abortion/infanticide, forced sterilization, destruction of the couple’s home, confiscation of their property, and the imprisonment of immediate family members and/or relatives.
Local officials have virtually unfettered leeway in matters of enforcement and, of course, bribes are welcome. Fines for unauthorized children are worse than draconian. They can run ten or more times the parents’ annual income.
Children born in the absence of a birth permit are entitled to exactly nothing from the state. If fines haven’t already been squeezed out of the parents, medical care and education for unauthorized children are denied until fines are paid. And that’s the dilemma that faced Mr. Wang in March of this year when he tried to enroll his children in school. As a poor farmer, the fine to allow them an education was only about $3,600, but it might as well have been $3 million.
Before slitting his wrists, Mr. Wang told his wife, "What did we bring them into the world for, to be as dumb as cattle? I cannot see my children grow up uneducated."
Avoidance of bad publicity being the only real brakes on family planning officials, they have now agreed to let the children go to school. They are also paying about $36,000 in compensation to the widow and have promised to build a new home for the remaining family members.
In today’saccompanying article
, Steve Mosher, President of Population Research Institute and the first American to sound the alarm on China’s one-child policy, describes how this policy is leading to the destruction of the family in China, with horrific social and demographic consequences. It’s a must-read.
Susan E. Wills, JD, LLM
left law practice to join the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, where she served for 20 years as Asst. Dir. for Education and Outreach until her retirement in 2013. She now serves as Aleteia’s English edition Spirituality Editor.