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China Communists sacked for having too many children: state media

07 January, 2008

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BEIJING (AFP)-Authorities in a central China province have expelled hundreds of people from the Communist Party or their government posts for having more than one child, state media said Monday.

At least 93,084 people in Hubei province last year had more children than they were allowed under the policy of one per family, Xinhua news agency said quoting the provincial family planning commission.

They included 1,678 officials or party members, it added, saying about 500 had been expelled from the party and 395 stripped of their official posts.

Previous reports said the officials had also been fined.

The violators included seven national and local lawmakers or political advisors, Xinhua added.

"More party members, celebrities and well-off people are violating the policies... which has undermined social equality," commission director Yang Youwang was quoted as saying.

No information was given as to the punishments meted out to the more than 90,000 other people in Hubei who violated the "one-child" policy last year.

China's family planning policy began in the late 1970s as a way to control the world's largest population, now at 1.3 billion people.

Generally, urban families can have one child and rural families can have two if the first is a girl. About 400 million births have been averted thanks to the policy, the government has said.

But in recent years the policy has been routinely ignored in rural areas, while increasing numbers of China's urban new rich have been able to afford the requisite fines for violating the rules.

Chinese parents have traditionally favoured large families -- and sons, in particular -- to support them in their old age.

The policy has been notorious from the start for the harsh punishments and brutal methods used to enforce it, such as forced late-term abortions and the sterilisation of women.

Several areas of the poor southern province of Guangxi erupted in riots last year after officials launched a harsh crackdown to enforce the policy, with residents saying forced abortions were among the methods used by authorities.

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