On a long journey in search of his lost child, Yang Libing carries a single photograph. It's a faded snapshot of his daughter Yang Ling, who this year turns seven years old.Read the whole thing -- it traces the money motive in birth planning fines and confiscations and shows how powerful birth planning authorities are.
Family planning agency cadres in the poor mountain town where Yang Libing lived with his wife Cao Zhimei seized their daughter in 2005 and shipped her to an orphanage because they didn't pay afford a 6,000 yuan penalty – so-called "social support compensation" – for violating China's one-child policy.
The nearly three-decade-old policy limits parents to a single offspring with certain exceptions. Authorities decided that the family of Yang Ling had overstepped strict bounds imposed by family planners in their hometown Gaoping and Longhui County, near the city of Shaoyang in Hunan Province.
Local officials decided to take a tough – arguably inhumane – stand for central government population controls by claiming rights to the toddler and, as the parents have argued since 2009, allowing her to be sold into adoption abroad.
Not only did the decision to confiscate the little girl serve to punish the parents, leaving them with mere memories and a worn baby photo, but it also provided operating cash for the local government.
Indeed, a Caixin investigation found that children in many parts of Hunan have been sold in recent years and wound up, sometimes with help from document forgers and complacent authorities, being raised by overseas families who think they adopted Chinese orphans.
After the LA Times article, one can't be surprised to hear of these confiscations. What does surprise me, though, is that the story is being reported in China, in Chinese.