WANTUN, China, May 26, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A farmer and father of four in southwest China's Guizhou province killed himself after family planning officials fined him the equivalent of almost 3,500 USD when he tried to enroll his children in school, according to British news sources.
Wang Guangrong, 37, had defied the country’s harsh one-child-policy regime, which, though less strictly enforced in poor rural areas, still imposes often-impossible financial penalties, and forced abortion or sterilization.
Wang's widow told the Daily Express that as they were unable to pay the fine, her husband decided to kill himself in hopes of forcing local authorities into paying his family compensation.
“He couldn't take it,” said his widow, Wu Jinmin, 36, according to the paper. “He said to me before he cut his wrists, 'What did we bring them into the world for, to be as dumb as cattle? I cannot see my children grow up uneducated.'”
Daily Express reports that out of embarrassment local officials have since given the family the equivalent of 34,000 USD, and have said they will provide them a new house.
“I wish my husband were still with me, but I think he would be happy where he is knowing that our family will be educated after all, even if we are not,” Wu said. “[Authorities] said after his death that extra births, although not encouraged, should not stop the children being educated.”
“The children miss him the most. They are all very sad,” she added.
Reggie Littlejohn of Women's Rights Without Frontiers said that suicide in China due to the one-child policy is both rampant and poorly understood by most westerners.
“People in the west are sometimes told that people in China are free to have more children if they are willing to pay a fine,” Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews.
“What they are not told is that this fine can be ten times a person’s annual salary – or even more. The vast majority of people cannot afford to pay these crushing fines on an emergency basis to maintain a pregnancy.”
“If a couple cannot pay this fine, they may be subject to forced abortion, or they may hide and have their child illegally. Such ‘illegal children’ are not given hukou – household registration. They have no official existence and are not eligible for health care or an education. They become ‘illegal aliens’ in their own land,” Littlejohn explained.
“This was the case of the Wang’s children. He could not endure the fact that his children would grow up without an education, so he cut his wrists to call attention to this injustice.”
Littlejohn pointed out that forced abortion is not the only human rights violation caused by China's one-child policy.
“Impossible fines for breaking the policy can drive people to suicide. These ‘terror fines’ amount to coercion and are a human rights violation in themselves, while denying a child essential health care and education is state-sponsored child abuse,” she said.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Wang Guangrong. We can only imagine his anguish and desperation as he took his own life because he could not pay the One Child Policy fine, leaving his family bereft. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers urges the Chinese government to cease its discrimination against so-called illegal children,” Littlejohn said.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has launched a petition, containing over 32,000 signatures to date, calling on the Chinese government to stop the brutal practice of forcibly aborting women to enforce coercive birth limits in connection with the one child policy.