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Shanghai Daily,上海日报

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Government loses ‘1-child’ fines case

A COURT has told officials in southern province Guangdong to reveal how they spent fines levied on residents for breaking China’s family planning rules.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Guangzhou ordered Guangdong Health and Family Planning Commission to publish details of “one-child” policy fines in 2012.

The commission had been taken to court by Wu Youshui, a lawyer in east China’s Zhejiang Province. Wu had asked for the information last July but the request was rejected.

It is rare in China for government departments to lose lawsuits, China News Service reported yesterday.

“Any action of a government institution should have a legal basis. If they don’t fulfill their duties, they have to take the risk of legal action and losing the case,” said Wu.

Following public pressure, last December, the Guangdong commission reported that it levied fines of 1.456 billion yuan (US$234.56 million) in 2012.

Wu claimed that nearly 95 percent of this sum was used to raise the income of government officials and on office expenses. The lawyer described this as completely unreasonable.

The same month, 24 provinces also published details of sums raised through family planning rule fines.

They said they collected more than 20 billion yuan in fines for extra births in 2012, but did not say how the cash was spent.

Critics have described the fine system as chaotic. The money need not only be used for family planning-related activities and fines vary regionally.



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