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A woman in China's central province of Henan has reportedly been “asked” to return the money she received for being compliant with the country's One Child Policy, after she applied for a permit to have a second child.

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) official newspaper, the People's Daily, said that a woman surnamed Chen was told by local authorities in the city of Zhengzhou that “if (she) wants to have two children, (she) must refund the one-child monies that she had previously enjoyed.”

Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, said that China's One Child Policy is enforced not only through coercion, such as forced abortion and involuntary sterilization, but also through incentives, such as the “Parents of One Child Honor Certificate,” which entitles parents of only one child to receive benefits until the child reaches age 14.

Conversely, Littlejohn noted, if a child is born without a permit, the family is typically subjected to crushing fines, dubbed “Social Maintenance Fees,” which can be up to ten times a person's annual salary. Children born with no permit are also denied “hukou,” or household registration, making them ineligible for education or healthcare.

Mrs. Chen, who has a four-year-old daughter, said she would have to return close to 1,000 yuan (US $162.84), according to People’s Daily.

While the People's Daily does not say anything about the economic situation of Chen and her family, China has an average per capita income of US $6,070 according to UN statistics.

The People's Daily report notes that the action taken by the local government of Henan has “made many people very puzzled.”

However, Littlejohn told LifeSiteNews that “the officials in Henan have taken the position that the national regulations are simply advisory,” pointing out that “this situation is indicative of the fact that China does not exist under a rule of law, and that some provincial officials feel free to flout central authority. It is also indicative of the many ways in which the implementation of the One Child Policy is subject to corruption by local authorities.”

Littlejohn explained that when China's family planning policy was adjusted on January 1 to allow certain couples to have a second child, their One Child Policy benefits would cease, but they would not have to pay back money they had already received. 

She said that the Henan authorities are attempting to extort refunds from couples who are requesting permission to have a second child under the new “two-child policy” and who had received the “Parents of One Child Honor Certificate” bonuses.

“By that logic, they [the Henan authorities] should refund all fines extorted from couples who had an ‘illegal’ second child, which child would have been allowed under the new rules,” Littlejohn said.

“The problem with the One Child Policy is not the number of children ‘allowed.’ Rather, it is the fact that the [Chinese Communist Party] is telling women how many children they can have and then enforcing that limit through forced abortion, forced sterilization and infanticide – or extortionate fines,” Littlejohn stated.

“Even if all couples were allowed two children, there is no guarantee that the [Chinese Communist Party] will cease their appalling methods of enforcement,” she said. “Women will still need a birth permit to have their first and second child. Women who get pregnant without permission will still be dragged out of their homes, strapped down to tables and forced to abort babies that they want, even up to the ninth month of pregnancy.”

“The coercive enforcement of China’s One Child Policy continues to cause more violence toward women and girls than any other official policy on earth, and any other official policy in the history of the world. Those who care about women and girls must continue to press with persistence until forced abortion and gendercide are eradicated from the face of the earth,” declared Littlejohn.

Click here to add your name to a petition against forced abortion in China.  A 4-minute video produced by Women's Rights Without Frontiers titled, “Stop Forced Abortion – China’s War on Women!” is available here