Monday, May 21, 2007

Thousands of villagers have rioted in south-western China over the country's controversial family planning restrictions

BBC News:

The villagers, in Guangxi province, reportedly attacked government offices after officials imposed heavy fines on families who had too many children.

The rioting allegedly took place on Friday and Saturday.

Beijing allows urban dwellers to have one child, while villagers can have two if the first child is a girl.

The policy - which was launched in the 1970s - is aimed at controlling population growth in the world's biggest nation with some 1.3 billion people.

Angry villagers targeted several local government offices in Shapi township in Guangxi, setting fires and destroying public property, local residents were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

At least one person was injured in clashes after riot police were called in, Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News newspaper said.

"The farmers were really angry because the family planning team was going around to homes and making farmers pay fines if they had too many kids," one local resident told AFP.

"If the farmers had no money they took things from them," the resident said.

It was not immediately clear when the fines had been imposed and how many families were affected.

Local and provincial officials have not yet commented on the unrest.

It is the latest in a series of civil disturbances in China which have come to the attention of the international media.

In March, there were riots in the central province of Hunan, provoked by a sharp increase in bus fares.

Birth Control Measures Prompt Riots in China

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