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Official, driver held for baby's death

(Shanghai Daily)

09:38, February 07, 2013

Police have detained a local official and his driver in Zhejiang Province for fatally running over a 13-month-old boy during an argument with the baby's parents for violating China's family planning rules.

The Qingxiang community Party chief, surnamed Bai, and the driver, surnamed Cheng, are in police custody after Monday's tragedy in Rui'an City sparked protests among the locals.

Bai was among 11 officials who were present when the incident occurred.

The Qingxiang community officials were attempting to persuade the baby's parents, Chen Liandi and Li Yuhong, to pay fines for having a third child, which was a violation of China's strict one-child policy.

But things got heated up as Chen confronted them, a Rui'an city government official told the Xinhua news agency.

"We were told to pay 30,000 to 40,000 yuan (US$4,773 to US$6,418), otherwise they would detain us," said Chen, who admitted that he had been detained before when his second child, a girl now 11 years old, was born.

Chen said the baby fell down during the tussle with the officials and rolled under an oncoming vehicle. As Chen attempted to save his child he injured his hand.

As news of the incident spread, thousands of angry people converged in front of the township government buildings on Monday afternoon to protest.

Rui'an, which comes under the Wenzhou administration, has many wealthy entrepreneurs. Nearly half of Wenzhou's families have two kids. Over a dozen families have been fined more than 1 million yuan, according to the Wenzhou Evening News, the highest at 1.3 million yuan.

Local regulations say the penalty amount should be four to eight times the average annual income of the family. The family planning authorities have the discretion to decide on the fine.

Because many violators come from rich families in Rui'an, they are handed out the maximum punishment, the newspaper said.

In June, a woman named Feng Jianmei from northwest China's Shaanxi Province was forced to abort seven months into the pregnancy after the family was unable to pay the 40,000 yuan fine.

Feng's family later got a compensation of 70,600 yuan in an out-of-court settlement.

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