May 14, 2007 / 8:01 AM / 12 years ago

China slaps $77,000 fine for breaching one-child rule

A nurse looks after new-born babies at a hospital in Huai'an, in east China's Jiangsu province May 7, 2007. Family planning mandarins in central China have slapped a record 600,000 yuan (39,000 pounds) fine on a private entrepreneur for flouting the world's most populous nation's strict "one child" policy. REUTERS/Patty Chen

BEIJING (Reuters) - Family planning mandarins in central China have slapped a record 600,000 yuan (39,000 pounds) fine on a private entrepreneur for flouting the world’s most populous nation’s strict “one child” policy.

Family planning officials in Anhui province meted out the fine, the online edition of Xinhua news agency said in a report seen on Monday. It did not give the identity of the businessman.

“Regardless of whether one is rich or poor, everyone should be equal before the law when family planning rules are implemented,” Xinhuanet quoted Zhang Weiqing, minister of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying.

China launched the one-child policy in 1980 to curb its population, now over 1.3 billion. Anhui’s population stood at 65.16 million as of August 24 last year, the eighth-largest among China’s 31 provinces, regions and municipalities.

The restrictions, which vary from city to countryside, have bolstered a traditional preference for boys and have come under fire from Western countries and human rights watchdogs after widespread reports of forced abortions and female infanticide.

Last month, family planning officials warned that the rich and famous faced “double punishment” — fines and a ban from any future government awards — if they broke the law. Violators are usually fined a few thousand yuan.

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