NRL News

“I don’t think having a baby is any kind of crime”

by | Dec 28, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Wu Weiping and her two children

We’ve written dozens and dozens and dozens of stories about China’s brutally repressive one-child policy. And although you hear and read that there has been some easing up, you know this is almost entirely smoke and mirrors.

The courage and inventiveness to circumvent that policy is the subject of a powerful story carried by the Associated Press dated December 26 and comes from a New Delhi television station. It is headlined, “In China, a daring few challenge one-child policy” (

The emphasis is on the resourcefulness of what the story calls an “increasingly defiant community of parents in China who have risked their jobs, savings and physical safety to have a forbidden second child.” The “violators” of the one-child policy, the story says, are increasingly urbanites “who frame their defiance in overtly political terms,” rather than “rural families who skirted the birth limits in relative obscurity.”

But the brunt of the story is how incredibly difficult evading authorities can be and the price that “violators” pay, if caught. We read

“Penalties for violators are harsh. Those caught must pay a ‘social compensation fee,’ which can be four to nine times a family’s annual income, depending on the province and the whim of the local family planning bureau. Parents with government jobs can also lose their posts or get demoted, and their ‘out of plan’ children are denied education and health benefits.”

The story revolves around Wu Weiping, who ran away in the middle of the night, seven-months pregnant, fearing  “that family planning officials were going to drag her to the hospital for a forced abortion.” The story of Wu Weiping, formerly a teacher, and her husband, is an incredible testimony to their courage and ingenuity.

She was surprised to be pregnant a second time. After successfully persuading her husband to keep the baby, “family planning officials insisted on an abortion. The principal at her school also pressured her to end the pregnancy.”

What follows was a “soap-opera-like subterfuge” which included divorcing her husband  (to try to take “advantage of a loophole that allows divorced parents to have a second child if their new spouse is a first-time parent”) and marrying her cousin.

“I remember I was very happy that day,” Wu said holding the marriage certificate with a glued-on snapshot of the cousins. “Because I thought I’d figured out a way to save my baby.”

In the end the subterfuge did not work and Wu fled to “Shanghai, hoping the roundabout route would throw off anyone trying to tail her.” There she had their baby son.

The story ends two years after the birth of the baby. The marriage with the cousin was easily dissolved because marriages among first cousins is illegal in China. And Wu and her husband have not remarried, “hoping it will legally shield him from any future punishment. “

But there’s been plenty already. Wu lost her job as a public school teacher and her husband, also, a teacher was demoted.

“Enforcers of the family planning limits showed up at their house in July, and again in November, threatening legal action. Wu is afraid their property might be confiscated or that she or husband might end up in detention, but she doesn’t want to pay the [social compensation] fine because she doesn’t believe she’s done anything wrong.”

Wu said, “I don’t think I’ve committed any crime.” A crime, she said, “is something that hurts other people or society or that infringes on other people’s rights.

“I don’t think having a baby is any kind of crime.”

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Categories: China