Villagers in southwestern China have been protesting and rioting over the past four days in reaction to a recent crackdown on violators of China’s so-called one-child policy. Chinese law limits families to one child except in cases where the first child is a girl and a second child is allowed, the Associated Press reports. Local officials are held accountable to ensure that the policy, which attempts to control China’s population growth, is implemented. According to the New York Times, officials in the Guangxi autonomous region have recently increased their efforts to control births by instituting mandatory health checks, forced abortions, and fines ranging from $65 to $9,000 for families that have violated the policy anytime since 1980.
Many of the fines, called “social child-raising fees,” surpass the annual income of an average villager, which is about $130, the Associated Press reports. Some families who refused to pay the tax are being subjected to detainments, searches, and seizures of valuables, according to the New York Times.
Protests, demonstrations, and the circulation of petitions are taking place in response to the increased enforcement of the policy. Villagers in Guangxi have reportedly been ransacking government buildings and offices. Dozens of people have been detained, and reports count as many as three fatalities.