- (Photo: Chinese social media platform Weibo)
A tragic story emerging from China this week, the details of which remain vague, indicates that a 13-month-old boy was crushed by a vehicle driven by family planning officials, who were fining the child's parents for violating the country's controversial one-child policy.
The incident reportedly occurred on Monday, Feb. 4, when 11 members of a nearby birth control office arrived in a large van at the home of Chen Liandi and his wife, Li Yuhong, who live near Wenzhou city in the eastern province of Zhejian.
The officials arrived at the couple's home to collect an unspecified fine, as the couple had three children, therefore violating the country's strict one-child policy, which permits each couple to only produce one child in an attempt at population control.
"We were required to pay 30,000 to 40,000 yuan [$5,000] otherwise they would have detained us," Chen is quoted as telling local news stations, according to BBC.
According to state media reports, there was a heated argument between Chen and the officials, and Yuhong was convinced to accompany officials back to their office in Ruian Town to further discuss the fine and her possible options.
Although what occurred next remains vague, it is clear that the 13-month-boy was left in the arms of the father, and then as the officials were pulling out of the family driveway, the boy was found crushed under the tires of the van.
While the case still remains highly sensitive, details as to how the boy got under the van tires remain unknown.
According to ChannelNewsAsia, one birth control official, surnamed Bai, and the driver, named Cheng, have been detained by police and could possibly be charged with negligent manslaughter.
The incident has resulted in widespread discussion and anger over China's social media platform Sina Weibo, which is similar to America's Twitter.
Many of the comments found on Weibo reference the story of Feng Jiemei, who in June 2012 uploaded photographs of her 7-month-old fetus, which she was allegedly forced to abort by officials because she had exceeded her one-child limit.
While China continues to employ its one-child policy as an attempt at population control and to improve the life of current inhabitants, others contest the age-old rule, arguing that it is archaic and inhumane.
Chai Ling, Founder of All Girls Allowed, an organization which fights to end female infanticide in China, said in a statement regarding this recent death:
"This boy's death reveals the inhumanity of the One-Child Policy, which criminalizes motherhood and calls children a 'social burden.' Even as Chinese leaders are talking about relaxing the policy, the brutality continues."
Last month, however, Beijing reaffirmed its support for the one-child policy.
"The policy should be a long-term one and its primary goal is to keep a low birthrate," Wang Xia, minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said in a statement, as reported by NBC News.