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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 March 2007, 18:09 GMT
China 'to punish' two-child rich
An adult and two children on a Beijing street
Under the policy, couples are only allowed to have one child
China is to introduce steps to punish famous and wealthy violators of its one-child policy, senior officials say.

The move came in response to complaints from ordinary people that the rich were having more children because they could afford the fines, officials said.

Measures could include recording violators' names and making them ineligible for citizenship awards.

China established its one-child policy in the late 1970s in a bid to control its soaring population.

Mu Weiyong of Liaoning's family planning commission said that the number of rich people violating the policy was increasing.

"The majority of the 700 cases we investigated since 2000 are wealthy private business owners, while in the decade before 2000, we only had 76 cases related to rich people", Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

Measures were in place to punish government workers who broke the law, Xinhua said, but it was harder to penalise those with no government affiliation.

Yu Xuejun of the National Population and Family Planning Commission said that one way was to target people's reputations by registering their names and preventing them from receiving awards.

"We found out that most celebrities and rich people have two children, and 10% of them have three," he told the Beijing News. "The phenomenon must be stopped."

Gender imbalance

Boys in a Chinese kindergarten class

The move came a day after a report by the National Bureau of Statistics highlighted the growing gender imbalance which has been widely blamed on the policy.

By the end of 2006, China's population stood at 1,314,480,000, the bureau said, with males accounting for 51.5% of the population.

But the ratio of newborn males to females was 119.25 to 100. The average for industrialised countries is between 104 and 107 baby boys to 100 baby girls.

China's imbalance has been attributed to a traditional preference for boys which, experts say, has led to abortion of female foetuses and female infanticide, as well as under-reporting of female births.

State media reported last month that there could be 30 million more men of marriageable age than women in as little as 15 years.




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