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Aggressive Family Planning Sparks Riots in China

In its attempts to curb a remorselessly exploding population, the government of China has been some heavy handed family planning policies for some time, like the one child norm.

The policy - which was launched in the 1970s - is aimed at controlling population growth in the world's biggest nation with some 1.3 billion people.

Beijing allows urban dwellers to have one child, while villagers can have two if the first child is a girl.

Worse, stiff penalties are levied on those who dont fall in line. And when they wont cough up, local officials carry away whatever is available in the house, it is charged.

Naturally such strong arm tactics result in riots every once in a while. And that is what supposed to have happened in southwestern province of Guanxi over the weekend.

Vllagers reportedly attacked government offices after officials imposed heavy fines on families who had too many children.

Anti-riot police were called in after villagers set fires and smashed cars Saturday at the Shabi township government office in the Guangxi region, Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News said.

One person was injured as villagers and government officials hurled stones at each other, the newspaper reported. The demonstrators also knocked down a wall and damaged offices at the building, it said. Lu Wenhua, a town resident, did not participate in Saturday's demonstration but said he had heard about the riot from other villagers. Lu, 23, said protesters were angry because the government had levied fines of more than $1,300 on families that had too many children.

"The fine is too heavy because the annual income of the villagers was only 1,000 yuan (about $130). It is too much for people to bear," he said in a telephone interview.

"The farmers were really angry because the family planning team was going around to homes and making farmers pay fines if they had too many k ids," another said.

"If the farmers had no money they took things from them," the resident said.

It wasn't immediately clear what sparked the riot, how long the fines had been imposed or how many families had been involved. Critics say China's family planning policy has led to forced abortions, sterilizations and a dangerously imbalanced sex ratio due to a traditional preference for male heirs, which has prompted families to abort female fetuses in hopes of getting boys.


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