A Look at the Chinese Regime’s Fundamental Governing Network through the Family Planning Apparatus

Scholars have predicted that the bursting of economic bubble, violent repression of demonstrations, long power struggle within the Communist Party and the large number of corruption cases, as well as natural disasters and territorial disputes, etc., would lead to political and social reforms in China. There are also opinions saying that with the 30% annual increase of mass incidents, it would become a threat to the rule of CCP. However, the past several decades still haven’t witnessed any revolutionary changes. In fact, the dramatics of Communist party political power struggle is purely internal palace intrigue with little effect on the population at large. When the stakes were high, the party apparatus always united to face outwards. I agree with the US expert in Chinese politics, Professor Andrew J. Nathan’s prediction that the possibility of big changes taking place in the short term is unlikely. But his analysis has ignored a very important fact, which is that the CCP has been working half a century to gradually lay down a giant net tightly over Chinese society, and have each knot guarded by CCP’s own servants. Despite all the social problems and mass incidents, people could only poke no more than their fingers through the mesh. How did the CCP lay down this net? Let’s take a look at the mechanism of the so-called “Family Planning Policy” that the CCP has been managing for decades; then it is not hard to find out that the Chinese Family Planning Commission at all levels have become a strong network to consolidate the rule of CCP.

The rule of CCP has a solid social basis besides its national defense and economy foundation. The interest groups closely tied with CCP includes more than 87 million CCP members, 2 million active duty military, 1.5 million armed police, 7 million reserve militia, 2 million regular police, 2.5 internet police, 7million cadres, and of course the large system of Family Planning Commission. There are over 100 million full-time or part-time officers including over 50 million population control committee members, and 94 million population control association members. Basically, these 200 million heads have lost their sense of moral responsibility or independence in carrying out their job of watching over the population, planting informers, kidnapping victims including pregnant women, detecting and destroying any semblance of opposition to the regime.

Since the early 1980s, the Family Planning system and other related medical information and data have been classified as a state secret, and became one of the highest state secrets by the end of 80s. The information on the One-Child Policy fines, such as who violated the policy, how much was the fine, and where the money went, has never been revealed to the public, neither was there any institution entitled to audit or publish financial report on this revenue of the government. During the 2 consecutive years of Xi’s anti-corruption movement, there were never a “tiger” reported or publicly investigated because of corruption or abuse the fines of One-Child Policy. In 2013, 14 female lawyers issued and signed a petition asking provincial Family Planning Commissions to release the revenue of One-Child Policy fines. This petition gained a lot of attention and support on the Internet. 22 out of 30 provincial governments unofficially disclosed some numbers, which suggested that the revenue in 2012 was 16.8 billion yuan. However, any kind of formal financial reports or attentions from the “anti-corruption” department were still absent. Chinese media also had to be silent because any digging of such classified Family Planning data could lead to charges of Leaking State Secrets. More importantly, the people who kept the most confidential information and data are the people who have the right to decide where the fine revenue goes. They are mostly the government officers who make the policies, participate in implementation of the policies, and instruct the whole family planning network to implement the policies. They are also the ones have the most knowledge of the variety of means how the Policy has been cruelly enforced; for instance, testing birth control drugs or equipment on human body and resulting in different degrees of physical and psychological harm to those women. There are more than 20 departments in the central administration responsible for carrying out the policy under the direction of the Family Planning Commission.  In 2013, the Ministry of Health (MOH, 1954-2013) was dissolved and integrated into the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC, 2003-2013), and became the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC). The Director of Family Planning Commission was appointed to the new leader of this combined management ever since, bringing the power of Family Planning system to another lever.

According to Article 10 in the “Measures for Administration of Collection of Social Maintenance Fees” promulgated by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, the social maintenance fees with relevant surcharge fines shall all be handed over to the State Treasury and integrated into the local budget administration in accordance with the rules laid down by the finance department of the State Council. Every year, Family Planning department at province and city levels get adequate funds for office activities and other expenses by collecting fines, and they turn in the surplus to the central government. In other words, the central government is getting money rolling in by running this zero-cost “Cash Cow” of Family Planning.  Any CCP leaders would not want to expose this business, let alone cut it down. Xi’s anti-corruption movement in the past 2 year almost reached central and local government at all levels, in all departments, but not Family Planning officers. The petition signed by the 14 female lawyers endorses no legal effect. The provincial governments that didn’t release any report of fines were not subject to any penalty, nor were they subject to any moral condemnation. The huge revenue from One-Child Policy fines will continue to be protected by law of this country and policies of CCP. Chinese people, especially the populous peasants, will continue to pay overload fines for fertility. CCP’s highest authority and Family Planning directors have been collaborating in this corrupted business of regulation making, officers appointing and revenue draining for decades.

In 2013, the Ministry of Health and the National Population and Family Planning Commission merged to form the National Health and Family Planning Commission. It is fund by national level budgetary allocation. It is a paycheck of 94 million full-time and part-time officers of Family Planning organizations at all levels, as well as 50.87 million supporting workers placed in all sectors, companies and villages all over the country (CCP official website People.com.cn March 1, 2010 data).  Bijie City of Guizhou Province alone had 4,600 new enrollments of county-level Family Planning staff recruited in 2012. These grass-roots government officials know well about every household on every street in every village of the county. Their work is to watch the community. They would not miss any attempt of demonstrations or rebellions. And they would not miss reporting any of it to the CCP. For example, after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, large-scale protests in province and city levels also died out owe to the work of these grass-roots servants. Mass incidents have no chance to expand. The invisible giant net that CCP  has been building for decades.

CCP has won over some of the victims with small favors since the launch of Two-Child Policy. Those victims are susceptible to the Stockholm syndrome under the long-term persecution. They are so grateful to the government and policy makers for the quota of a second child that they have even forgotten it is a basic human right to have babies at free will. Tyranny becomes reasonable and basic human right becomes “infinite royal graciousness”. Nearly 40 years of brainwashing propaganda and bloody suppression has engraved obedience in people’s head, with a deep understanding that disobeying means to suffer corporal punishment, financial loss and social status deprivation. Fear overshadows every corner of people’s lives.

For China’s rulers, who have always put social stability as the top priority, knew that implementing the Two-Child Policy would not result in population booms or changes of social structure, nor would it cause sudden pressure on the political or economic sectors of society. The provincial Family Planning fine revenue would remain, the over 100 million full-time and part-time Family Planning officers would still get paid, and affiliated agencies would not be affected. In simple terms, this modified new policy will not affect the rule of CCP, only abolition of the whole Family Planning policy will. Therefore, CCP is not and will not stop the fines or abolish the policy.

The people in China, in the eyes of the CCP, are not more than childbearing machines. They are not granted any protection or benefits under the Two-Child Policy. The policy makers are merely adjusting the output of these “machines”. It is time for Chinese women to speak up that our uteri are not the government’s property. The government shall not have control over whether we give birth to a second or a third child. Only the complete abolition of Family Planning and fines over “out-of-plan child” can grant Chinese people living in real dignity.

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