Global Times | 2012-8-14 1:35:03 By Liu Sha
A US-based human rights group, Chinaaid Association, has criticized the Qingdao News, a newspaper based in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, for publicizing the names and other personal information of 10 couples who violated China’s family planning policy, saying it infringed on their human rights.
The 10 couples contravened China’s family planning policy by having a second or even a third child but failed to pay the “social fostering fee,” which is imposed by all local governments. The money is supposed to be used to offset the cost of an additional child in terms of public resources and shared public utilities, according to the Population and Family Planning Law.
“Publicizing the names of couples who failed to pay the fine has been a conventional practice in Shandong Province since 2010,” an official surnamed Liu from the Population and Family Planning Commission of Qingdao told the Global Times.
A journalist from the Qingdao News, who asked his name not to be used, told the Global Times that the paper was only following a request of the commission.
Liu said that the offices of commissions in different districts of Qingdao choose where to publicize the information.
“Sometimes in local newspapers and sometimes on the commission’s website,” said Liu, adding that publicizing the names is not a human rights issue.
“If we show the public that the government knows what’s happening in the community, it will make people think twice about having a second or even a third child,” said Liu.
The paper published the names, addresses and dates of the birth of their second or third child of 10 couples from Pingdu, a city administered by Qingdao.
Lü Yougang had his name published in the paper in March. He said he simply doesn’t have the money to pay the fostering fee.
“I felt ashamed,” he told the Global Times, adding he hasn’t heard from the commission since his name was published and doesn’t know if he will also be fined or what action the courts might take against him and his family.
According to local regulations, a family that has a second child must pay between two and six times the average annual disposable income of local residents. In Qingdao, this can range from 57,314 yuan ($9,012) to 171,402 yuan.