As many as three million Chinese babies are hidden by their parents every year in order to get around the country’s one-child policy, a researcher has discovered.
“I am the biggest offender against the one-child policy in China!” laughed Fu Yang, a wiry and energetic 47-year-old man, as he fidgeted and poured tea. “I had seven daughters in just ten years.”
Mr Fu and his rather more reserved wife are among the millions of Chinese parents who risk threats, fines and even imprisonment in order to defy the country’s one-child policy. The couple, who now live a prosperous life in a small village outside the southern city of Xiamen, have had to flee across three provinces and hide their children with friends in the past.
“…As soon as each of our daughters had finished breast-feeding, we sent her out to live with a friend or a relative,” said Mr Fu. “They went to school, but without the proper papers,” he added. “At the time, the family planning authorities were being very strict and they were arresting people if they went over the limit,” he said.
“But in Guangdong, I had a friend who was a gangster. We went together to the hospital and forced a doctor to issue my wife a certificate saying she had been sterilised. That way, when the authorities came around, we could show them our documents. They had to be real though, because the officials often cross-checked to make sure.”
Existing in a grey area of Chinese law does not seem to have damaged the prospects for Mr Fu’s children. Three of his eldest five daughters are even Communist party members, while the other two remain in school. One daughter is studying a postgraduate law degree in Beijing while another is likely to take over from him as the head of the family business.”