Authorities in Jiangsu Province are scratching their heads over how to fine a poor scrap collector for violating China’s one-child policy, after they recently discovered he has 10 children.
The man, surnamed Liu, has four sons and six daughters aged 2 months to 21 years old. The family managed to stay under the radar in Suzhou for years, until the 5-year-old son drowned recently, and local media reported their story, according to Aoyi News.
To keep their secret, Liu helped his wife give birth each time, and she often kept the younger kids locked up at home while the eldest two were working at factories. The mother had recently tried to use contraception, but it failed and she ended up having twins instead.
Their first child has her hukou or permanent residency documents for public services and education, but all the others are unregistered, and mostly uneducated.
The local deputy mayor said all nine children are being given a hukou, but the fines for breaking the one-child policy still apply. Referring to Liu, he added: “He should and will be fined, but no matter how much you charge him, he won’t be able to afford it anyway. If we find a policy that can be applied on his case, the fine could be reduced or paid later.”
According to the provincial rules, any family with more than two children must pay five to eight times the social maintenance fee. If Liu’s income is around 20,000 yuan ($3,213) per year, then he and his wife are facing a 500,000-yuan ($80,315) fine.
Netizens reading Wenxue City’s article on the story said the local government needs to help the family more.
One wrote: “These children are precious. In the future, families with only one child will admire people who have several kids. China’s pension problem is much more severe than Japan’s, due to fewer young people and pensions. I once again condemn the government’s dereliction of duty.”
Another said: “This is migrant workers’ current situation. Their living conditions are really bad. They can’t afford school for their children, nor to take care of them. The authorities might not punish them for having 10 kids, but at least they should help to solve the children’s education problem.”
With translated research by Lulu.