Chinese professor fired for allegedly violating one child policy
CHINA, December 18, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A university professor in Guangdong Province was fired from his position for allegedly violating China's one child policy, despite the fact that his first child was born in the US and is an American citizen.
Cai Zhiqi , associate professor of chemistry at South China University of Technology (SCUT), was sacked on November 19 after the university's family planning office insisted that Guangdong's family planning regulations require that he either quit voluntarily or be fired.
Cai said his wife had a child while he was studying in the US in 2007, and she became pregnant again before he returned to work at SCUT in 2009.
"My wife was pregnant before we came back, and she gave birth to our second daughter in Tianjin in January 2010," Cai said, according to Chinese news service Global Times.
He said he received notification from SCUT's family planning office on May 31, asking him to submit materials to prove his eligibility to have a second child. Otherwise he would be pressured to quit and face the huge fines associated with violating the one-child policy.
However, Cai's lawyer Lu Miaoqing said the one-child policy regulations allow citizens studying in a foreign country to have a second child as long as they stayed abroad for over a year. Cai should be covered by the exception because the couple stayed in the US for two years, she said according to a South China Morning Post report.
The family planning office argued, however, that the regulation requires the couple to both be studying overseas, and in Cai's case, his wife was accompanying him, not studying.
Yang Zhizhu, former law professor at the China Youth University for Political Sciences, another in a long list of academics fired for violating the one-child policy, said there is no definitive interpretation of the law and the regulations are enforced differently in different jurisdictions, so Cai should not be punished.
"In Shanghai, the policy doesn't require both parents to be studying overseas," he said, according to Global Times.
Lu Miaoqing indicated she is preparing to sue the university for wrongful dismissal.
"We are considering filing a lawsuit against the family planning office of the university or seeking labour arbitration for wrongful dismissal, or both," Lu said. "The university cannot deprive Cai of his right to work."
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced a minor reform to the one-child policy, which now allows couples to apply to have a second child if one parent is an only child. Previously the regulations allowed such an application only if both parents were only children.
Even so, human rights advocates say the marginally more permissive rules merely tweak an unacceptably oppressive and brutal policy.
“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,” said Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers.
“Regardless of the number of children allowed, 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 repressive population control policy has not only resulted in what Chinese officials claim as the prevention more than 400 million births, but in China having the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world.
Women’s Rights Without Frontiers points out that China is the only nation in which more women than men kill themselves. Suicide is now the leading cause of death among rural Chinese women.
"Forced abortion traumatizes women. In the West, post-abortive counseling is becoming available to help women deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of having an abortion. Not so in China," said Reggie Littlejohn.
She noted that Congressman Christopher Smith, who has taken a leading role in exposing the atrocities of the one-child policy through Congressional hearings and other means, stated, “According to the most recent State Department Human Rights Report, one consequence of ‘[China’s] birth limitation policies’ is that 56% of the world’s female suicides occur in China, which is five times the world average, and approximately 500 suicides by women per day.”
Recent headlines have shown another aspect of the oppressive policy: huge fines imposed on violators at all levels of society.
On December 1, famous Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was sued by government lawyers after he admitted to having three children with his wife, actress Chen Ting. According to an AP report he could face fines of up to 160 million yuan ($26 million).
More recently India TV News reported that a farmer killed himself after his crops were seized by officials because he has 5 children.
Ai Guangdong, a farmer in Hebei Province, committed suicide at a Communist official's residence by consuming pesticide, the report said.
The report noted that Ai, whose annual income was about 5,000 yuan, had been paying fines to officials ever since the birth of his second daughter. According to his wife Xie Yufeng, 60,000 yuan ($10,000) per year was demanded from the couple for violating the one-child policy.