A Chinese official and a driver are being held on suspicion of manslaughter after running over a 13-month-old boy with a family planning agency car, authorities have said.
Bai, identified only by his last name, along with more than 10 government officials, was confronting a family in Ruian in the eastern province of Zhejiang, demanding that they pay a fine for the birth of the boy who was already the couple’s third child.
The father was holding the baby in his arms but dropped him during the scuffle and was unable to pull the baby out of the official car’s path, local authorities said Thursday.
Both Bai, also a local Communist Party leader, and a driver named Chen have been detained by police on suspicion of negligent manslaughter and could face up to seven years in prison, according to a statement on a local government site.
“We were required to pay 30,000 to 40,000 yuan ($4,800 to $6,400), otherwise they would have detained us,” Chen Liandi, the father, was quoted as saying.
The incident has provoked widespread anger on social media, AFP reports.
“They lost their humanity for money. They must be severely punished,” a user posted on Sina Weibo, Twitter’s Chinese equivalent.
China instituted the policy more than 30 years ago in a bid to curb the exploding population growth. Couples who have more than one child must pay a “social upbringing” fine while those who are both single children themselves are exempted from the policy. But ruthless enforcement of the population control measures has led to forced abortions, igniting outrage and condemnation.