China Aid Association
Authorities in Bobai issue fines and sterilisation orders for women who violate the one-child policy. In the last few days, farmers attack public buildings and clash with police. The situation is “tense but quiet” after days of disturbances.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Official sources described the situation in the town of Bobai (Yulin prefecture) as “tense but quiet” after thousands of rural residents angered by rigid enforcement of the one-child policy attacked a local government office over the weekend. Hundreds of armed police, officials and law enforcement units are now patrolling the streets.
Angry people stormed a local government office on Saturday where they smashed furniture and office equipment. Some even tried to set the building on fire, clashing with police with casualties on both sides. One local source even said: “I heard there were some deaths, but it’s impossible to confirm.” Other sources noted several cars were burnt and dozens of people were arrested. However, days after the incidents there still is no official information and the authorities have declined to comment.
One witness said that the riot started after a work team bulldozed the house of a poor farmer who could not afford the fine for breaking the one-child policy. The farmer reportedly went to the municipal office to protest and returned with broken fingers, stirring up anger in his community.
Protests had begun earlier, in March, when authorities in Bobai issued orders that all local women undergo medical examination to determine whether they had violated the one-child policy. Villagers who failed to show up for their exams would be fined 1,000 yuan immediately. Violators of the one-child policy would not only be fined, but might even be forcibly sterilised, the directive said.
An article on the government website said the authorities had carried out “population-control measures” on 252 people since March. That generally refers to operations to prevent women from becoming pregnant.
A local source said many officers had used ‘extreme violence’ during the crackdown campaign.
A Bobai government directive told local officials that their job evaluations would be tied to the results of the one-child policy.
The one-child policy was instituted in the late 1970s. It allows couples to have only one child, two if the first one is a girl.
Other sources have reported protests and clashes in four other towns in the county like Yingqiao and Dungu, causing damages and injuries.
“Those who could not afford the penalties had their home ransacked and lost all their belongings,” a local source was quoted as saying in the South China Morning Post. “Some [police] even climbed up a villager’s house and knocked a big hole in his roof because he could not pay.”
Other sources said that in some cases police smashed furniture and crockery, even taking away food supplies.
Now local officials are refusing to meet the protesters.
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]