In China, a 67-year-old woman could be fined for giving birth to a third child, in violation of Beijing’s two-child policy. The woman, identified only by her last name Tian, lives in Shandong Province and gave birth to a baby girl on October 25. Her husband, Huang Weiping, 68, said the pair were not aware that they could be fined.
“We didn’t mean to violate the law. I will put forward an administrative review or initiate a lawsuit if I am fined,” Weiping said, according to Beijing News. He added that he believed they were exempt since regulations usually apply to women under the age of 49. Officials in Shandong Province are currently reviewing their case; however, the province’s laws restrict couples to two children each.
On occasion, exceptions are made for people with children from previous marriages and for parents with disabled children. “The commission will decide whether the fine should be applied after checking information about the couple’s previous two children,” an official told The Global Times, a state-funded Chinese newspaper.
Tian suffered a series of pre-birth complications, including pre-eclampsia, heart problems, and abnormal liver and kidney function. The baby was finally delivered through a cesarean section, according to state broadcaster CCTV. “We were quite lucky, given that the mother was at an advanced maternal age and had a variety of complications,” Liu Wencheng, the doctor who delivered the child said.
The couple also had difficulty registering the child’s birth since they couldn’t find their marriage certificate. A government official said the pair had to re-submit forms to finalize the registration process. Weiping and his wife have two adult children in their forties and several grandchildren. The elder children were reportedly against the birth. “My daughter even said that if I gave birth to this little baby, she would sever all ties to us,” Tian said, according to CCTV.
Those in violation of the two-child policy are subject to fines that are calculated based on their home city’s average income and the number of children they already have. Fines for violating the government-imposed limit can lead to bankruptcy. A couple in Shandong, who gave birth to a third child in 2017, were fined nearly $9,500 for violating the policy. After failing to pay the fine, their entire bank account, which contained nearly $3,300 was frozen in February 2019.
Beijing amended its family planning policy in 2016, enabling couples to have two children instead of one. The one-child policy was implemented in China in 1980 in order to limit most Chinese families to one child each. The policy was adopted to address the skyrocketing rate of the country's population, which the government viewed as excessive.