By Tom Bannister
Fujian officials have been heavily criticised for illegally detaining a family, including a sexagenarian and a two-year-old, after they were suspected of breaking family-planning regulations.
At 13:30 on December 26th, Weibo user @天下应该是天下人的天下 posted three photos showing eight people, ranging from grandparents to grandchildren, locked up behind iron railings in Xiangyang township family planning building.
The Weibo user was 29-year-old Lin Tiesheng and he claimed that the eight people, including his 63-year-old father and two-year old daughter, were his family and that some of them had already been detained for over half a month.
Lin’s posts provoked an outraged response online and reporters began to investigate the matter. By the morning of December 28th the original posts had been deleted and replaced by a post that read: “Nanan city government has properly resolved the incident.”
Lin’s wife reportedly gave birth to their first child in August 2010 while the couple were unmarried. They had neither a birth permit nor a marriage permit. According to Lin they had gone to get the permits that spring but because his partner was already pregnant the local government would not issue them.
Lin reports that the family planning office said “if we want to get a birth permit then we would have to abort the child. Then next time she was pregnant we would be able to get a permit”.
The couple didn’t want to have an abortion so they went to a non-local ‘private’ hospital to give birth. When officials later found out, they said that the couple would have to pay a fine of 21,000 yuan. Lin didn’t have the money and so the local government imprisoned his family in retaliation.
As the China Youth Daily points out, the action of the local officials was in direct contravention of central government laws issued in 1995 that explicitly state that “people (and their relatives) that violate family planning regulations must not be illegally imprisoned, beaten or insulted” and that “the relatives, and neighbours of a person who violates family planning regulations must not be implicated in their crime”.
A local official has apologised for the actions of the local government saying that “I went to Lin Tiesheng’s house and officially apologised to his father”.