The logic behind China's decision to fine director Zhang Yimou $1.2 million for having 3 children
Previously, we reported on how the famous Chinese film director, Zhang Yimou, evaded China's one-child policy by having three children. The government has now announced the exact amount of the fine that Zhang will pay for his children. It works out to be about US $1.2 million, and here's how the amount is calculated.
The Family Planning Bureau of Binhu District of Wuxi City, Jiangsu province in eastern China has announced that the fine will be 7.48 million yuan, and it must be paid in full within 30 days. There will be a penalty for delays. The calculations are explained in an official letter posted to the district's official account on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service in China. The following is a summary:
1. Determining the children's birth and residence status. Although his wife Cheng Ting has established residence in Wuxi City, hang and his children haven't established permanent residence there. In July 2013, it was decided that the Family Planning Bureau of Binhu District of Wuxi City will be in charge of this case. The Bureau then investigated and confirmed that Zhang's three children were born born in 2001, 2004 and 2006 when Zhang and his wife were not married yet.
2. The income for the year before a child is born is used for calculating the fine. For the years 2000, 2003, 2005, Cheng Ting had no income, and Zhang's income varied greatly from over one million yuan to as low as only 2,760 yuan (about US $456) in 2000.
3. Calculating the fine. The fines for the second and the third children are the greatest because of the serious nature of the violations. For the two extra children, the excessive birth fee and the social maintenance fee are calculated to be 7,487,854 yuan (or US $1,238,850.47).
After Zhang admitted to and publicly apologized for having three children illegally, but explained that what he did was to fulfill his father's wish to have children to continue the family line, his revelation has caused a brisk discussion among the Chinese public about whether the rich and the powerful have the right to get away with extra births. The fine, although a huge sum, will certainly add new grease to the firestorm of fervent discussions. There have also been Chinese netizens who support what Zhang did and think Zhang should not pay a single penny, and that the family planning bureaus should be eliminated.