Chinese film maker fined for flouting family planning law

Beijing, Jan 10 (IANS) Renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou has been fined a staggering 7.49 million yuan or more than $1.1 million for violating China’s family planning law, South China Morning Post reported Friday.

Zhang Yimou, an Oscar nominee and his wife Chen Ting “have three children, which is a violation of family planning laws”, the Family Planning Bureau in Wuxi’s Binhu district said on its official Weibo microblog Thursday.
The director earlier apologised in an open letter for his “excessive children”. The bureau had informed the couple that they needed to pay a cash fine, or what it calls “social maintenance fees”, of 7.49 million yuan, for the violation.
This would be the largest fine handed down against any Chinese family since the one-child policy was introduced in the country in the 1970s.
The bureau said it calculated the fine based on Zhang’s and his wife’s income in the three years prior to the birth of each of their children, in accordance with the law. The children are aged 12, 9 and 7 respectively.
The couple have 30 days to pay the fine. They could also ask for an administrative review, or launch a law suit to challenge the decision.
According to the China’s family planning law, couples who have two ‘beyond-the-quota’ children may be fined five to eight times the annual income of the couples combined.
Zhang Yimou is admired for his films like “Red Sorghum” and “Raise the Red Lantern”, which was nominated for a Oscar as the best foreign film in 1992 but failed to pass the censors in China and was initially banned from local cinemas.