February 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A visit by Chinese family planning officials to collect a fine related to the illegal birth of a couple’s third child ended tragically in the death of the child, reports state media.

According to a briefing from the local propaganda department, 11 family planning officials visited the couple to collect the fines.

The father reportedly became agitated and obstructed the team. Finally, however, his wife “agreed” to go with the officials for further investigations.

Details about what happened next are sketchy, with the report only stating that the child was “found” beneath the wheels of the vehicle as it was leaving. He was then rushed to hospital where he died.

An English-language account in China Daily reports the father as saying that the child had dropped from his arms in the tussle with family planning officials, and that the van had started suddenly, before he could get the child out of the way.

Police are said to be investigating the death of the child.

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Human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, said that while the details of what happened aren't clear, "what is clear is that when the family planning officials arrived there was a healthy boy, and when they left he was dead."

In a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews.com, she said that this may be "just one of a number of examples where family planning officials have used deady violence" in enforcing the One Child Policy.

She pointed to the 2011 case, when a Chinese official stabbed to death the brother of a woman who was scheduled to undergo a forced sterilization. 

"These atrocities at the hand of family planning officials typically just go completely unpunished," said Littlejohn. In fact, in some cases they may even lead to promotions, she said, which appears to be what has happened in the case of some of the officials who terrorized famed human rights activist Chen Guangcheng and his family. 

"The spirit of the red guard lives on in the family planning police who function as domestic terrorists," she said.

China’s one-child policy is routinely enforced with coercive measures running from crippling fines to forced sterilization and forced abortion, even into the ninth month of pregnancy.

The couple whose baby was run over had been required to pay a fine of 30,000 yuan ($4,773 U.S.), according to China Daily.

The one-child policy has received heightened scrutiny in recent months, in large part thanks to social media. In one case, a photo of a woman, Feng Jianmei, lying next to the body of her unborn baby, which had been aborted forcibly in the seventh month of pregnancy, circulated widely around the world, sparking outrage in China and abroad.

But while China has said that forced abortions are illegal in the country, experts in human rights in the country say that such abortions occur regularly.

Opponents of the one-child policy have been subject to arrest, imprisonment, and brutal beatings at the hands of the government. One of the most prominent of such opponents, Chen Guangcheng, recently fled to the United States after spending years in prison and then under house arrest.

Recent reports have suggested that China may be considering abandoning the one-child policy, but last month a top family planning official strongly and unambiguously reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the policy.