CHINA'S ONE-CHILD RULE
Communist Party expels 500 for defying policy
BEIJING - THE authorities in central China have expelled 500 people from the Communist Party for defying the country's one-child policy, state media said yesterday.
In Hubei province, 93,084 people breached the policy last year, including 1,678 officials, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the provincial family planning commission.
Among the offenders, 500 were expelled from the Communist Party, 395 were dismissed from their posts and seven national and local lawmakers lost their political status.
No information was given as to the punishments meted out to the more than 90,000 other people.
China has been trying to crack down on officials and the wealthy who ignore its strict family planning laws. Being expelled from the party is a very serious punishment.
Under a policy implemented in the late 1970s, most urban couples are limited to one child and rural families to two to control population growth and conserve natural resources.
China's 1.3 billion people account for 20 per cent of the world's total. The government has pledged to keep the population under 1.36 billion in 2010, and under 1.45 billion in 2020.
But rising incomes mean some newly rich - such as businessmen and entertainment stars - can afford to break the rules and pay the resulting fines.
'More party members, celebrities and well-off people are violating the policies in recent years, which has undermined social equality,' Mr Yang Youwang, director of Hubei's family planning commission, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, REUTERS