The iron hand with the Communist government in China is implementing family planning policies is often held up as a striking example of administrative efficiency.
Well the element of coercion may be forgiven when they are seeking to contain a population exploding beyond relentlessly. The riots against punitive measures reported last week was an indication of how insensitively things are being done over there. Worse, the Chinese citizens are virtually ruining their lives in an attempt to beat the policy.
AdvertisementIncreasingly they are taking to fertility drugs in the hopes of a multiple pregnancy. In the process they are saddled with more children than they can manage to rear. They feel helpless then. Like the case of Niu Jian Fang and Jiao Na of Buffalo village in the Henan province in central China.
A woman can only give birth once. So, four years ago, Jiao Na got pregnant and gave birth to a son, Bei Bei. And then a few minutes later she had a daughter, Jin Jin, then another son Huan Huan, a second daughter, Ying Ying, and finally another girl, Ni Ni. They had indeed beaten China's one-child policy by having quintuplets.
But life has not been easy for them since. Their small farm does not bring in much money. They have had to give Ying Ying to a relative because they cannot afford to raise all five children on their own. It is a struggle, but they are happy they have more children at home than would have been possible in normal circumstances.
Many families admit they use fertility drugs to get round the one-child limit.
One woman says her parents-in-law put the drugs into her food to make sure she would conceive twins.
Where agriculture is the mainstay, families need more than one child to help till the land, they argue.
One could see here more twins on one single street than one would expect to find in the entire village.
Near the village, the records of the county maternity hospital are filled with lists of multiple pregnancies.
Dr Guo Gui Fen turns the handwritten pages slowly and points to the name of each mother who conceived twins or even triplets. "We've seen a huge rise in the number of twins in recent years," she says. "That's all because of the fertility drugs that are easily available."
China introduced its one-child policy in 1980 because it was worried about its ability to feed a growing population.
In towns and cities, the policy is often strictly enforced.
Some women are sterilised after they give birth to their first child.
Others have been forced to have abortions if they get pregnant for a second time.
Couples face heavy fines if they go ahead and have a second child.
There are some exemptions, however, with families from ethnic minorities allowed more than one child.
Some rural families are also permitted to try for a son if their first child is a daughter.
But those Chinese who are limited to just one child increasingly resent the policy.
In modern China, more and more people object to the state telling them what to do.
On 19 May, the residents of Bobai, a town in China's southern Guanxi Province, rose up against the policy.
Communist Party officials started going house to house to collect fines for having a second child.
According to reports, the officials tried to intimidate rule-breakers into paying, but locals fought back by burning cars and destroying official buildings.
Many Chinese would prefer to avoid this kind of confrontation with the state, which is still hugely powerful. That is why so many choose to take fertility drugs in the hope of a multiple pregnancy.
If you have all your children in one go in China, you do not have to worry about a fine and a fight with the Communist Party. The Chinese government continues to insist that there is no escape from the one child policy and the people are paying for it heavily in various ways.
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