BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese toddler died after being run over by a van belonging to family planning officials engaged in a confrontation with his parents, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday, in a case that is likely to provoke public outrage.
China limits most urban couples to one child and rural parents to two in a deeply unpopular policy enacted more than 30 years ago to rein in population growth in the world’s most populous country.
Eleven family planning officials in the town of Mayu, in rural Zhejiang province in the Yangtze River delta, were threatening to detain the 13-month-old boy’s mother if she did not pay a 30,000 yuan ($4,800) fine for bearing an unauthorized third child.
The boy dropped from his father’s arms as he tussled with the officials and was run over by the officials’ van on Monday. He died in hospital on Tuesday, Xinhua said.
Police are investigating the case, the news agency said.
Although forced abortions, sterilizations and the destruction of offenders’ homes were common in the 1980s, China has grown to rely more on fines for enforcing the one-child policy.
Many Chinese believe the policy will gradually be phased out as an increasingly prosperous and urban population chooses to have smaller families. China’s working-age population, aged 15 to 59, fell for the first time in 2012.
Popular outrage over abuses by family planning officials was re-ignited last year after a man posted a photo on the Internet of his young wife lying exhausted on a hospital bed next to the bloody seven-month-old fetus she was forced to abort.
Local officials were punished over the forced abortion, but the couple was also criticized by some protesters as “traitors” for speaking of the case to foreign media.
Reporting By Lucy Hornby; Editing by Pravin Char