WENZHOU, February 8, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Hundreds of residents of a Chinese village have surrounded government offices in Mayu, after family planning officials ran over and killed a 13-month-old child.
The child was killed during an altercation between the boy’s parents and the officials, who had gone to collect a hefty fine related to the illegal birth of the child – the parent’s third child.
Under China’s one-child policy, couples in rural locations are sometimes allowed to have a second child if their first child is a girl, but never a third.
According to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, the incident occurred at noon on February 3 in the township of Mayu, in the city of Rui'an, which is administered by Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.
Eleven official’s from Mayu's Qingyang Community visited the couple to collect the "social child support fee."
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The husband, Chen, reportedly became agitated and refused to cooperate. The officials then asked his wife to go with them to the township office to talk. She reportedly agreed and got into the officials' vehicle.
But when the vehicle started to move, one wheel ran over the couple's 13-month-old son. He was taken to Rui'an's No. 3 People's Hospital for emergency care, but his injuries were too serious and he died at the hospital.
More than 1000 villagers surrounded the government offices after the accident, and conflicts ensued with riot police. According to witnesses cited by the Center for Human Rights & Democracy, ten people were injured.
The U.S.-government-funded Radio Free Asia contacted local government and police officials, who confirmed the report of protests and police clashes. A government official told Radio Free Asia that two days after the accident, some protestors were still outside the government offices.
Human rights activists have questioned the government's account that the baby’s death was an accident.
"We are deeply disturbed by the fact that another young life was possibly snuffed out by family planning officials in the name of the one-child policy," said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu.
"For the sake of truth and for the sake of the young parents, we demand the Chinese authorities to thoroughly investigate this case, reveal the truth and hold those possible murderers accountable," Fu said.
Human rights activist Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told LifeSiteNews.com in a telephone interview 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."
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.
Chinese citizens have become increasingly vocal about their opposition to China's compulsory abortion policy, which has been in place since 1979.
Last summer, a series of well-publicized cases of pregnant women kidnapped by government officials and forced to have late-term abortions or threatened with such abortions propelled the issue into domestic and international headlines.
The Chinese government has come under intensifying pressure both at home and abroad to end the practice, which has led to serious social consequences. One of these, an alarming sex ratio imbalance, is in turn leading to an increase in sex trafficking.