|Tian Liang (File Photo)
By Yang Jingjie
BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhuanet) -- Authorities in Shaanxi Province are working with their counterparts in Beijing on an investigation into a former Olympic diving gold medalist's alleged violation of the one-child policy by arranging the birth of his second child in Hong Kong.
"We have learned that Tian Liang's hukou (household registration) is in Beijing, so we need to coordinate with departments in Beijing to handle the case," an official with the Shaanxi Population and Family Planning Commission told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.
The commission said it would reveal the result of a probe on whether Tian and his wife were eligible for a second child or whether they had violated the policy.
An official with the Shaanxi Swimming Administration Center (SAC) told the Xinhua News Agency Wednesday that they would work with Tian to collect the right information for the investigation.
Tian, 32, who won the gold in the 10-meter platform diving event at the 2000 Sydney Games and another for the synchronized 10-meter platform diving event at the 2004 Athens Games, retired as a diver in 2007 and became an actor.
Tian's first child was born in 2008. He welcomed his second child, a boy, in Hong Kong earlier this year, and since faced accusations of violating the one-child policy.
The mainland adopted the policy in the late 1970s to contain the fast growth of its population. Authorities have loosened the regulation, allowing eligible couples, including parents who are only children themselves, to have a second child.
Yangtze Evening News said last week that Tian, who is not an only child, had been stripped of his Party membership and dismissed from the post of deputy director of the Shaanxi SAC for violating the policy.
But on Friday, the Shaanxi Administration of Sport denied this report, saying Tian had not violated the one-child policy since his son was born in Hong Kong.
Ma Li, director of the China Population and Development Research Center, however, confirmed with the Global Times that "no matter where their hukou or house registration is located, Tian and his wife broke the law."
An official from the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC) told the Global Times that the commission is following the case, but could not comment for now.
According to NPFPC's hotline for public inquiries on the one-child policy, a couple who are not eligible for a second child are considered to have violated the policy even if their second child was born outside the mainland. The hotline said the couple will be fined if they bring the child back to the mainland and have the child stay for 18 months out of two years, or if they apply for a household registration on the mainland for the child.
According to the Population and Family Planning Law, the fine would be between two and six times the couple's total income of the previous year, and any future fines would triple for every additional child.
Tian and his wife have remained silent since the scandal broke. Mu Miaoyong, Tian's agent, declined to comment on the issue when contacted by the Global Times, calling it a "personal affair."
The People's Daily commented that the public's debate about the case showed limited knowledge about the family planning policy.
"If authorities fail to provide a timely response to the public, speculations and misunderstanding will deepen, disrupting people's understanding and bringing much more harm than good to the promotion of the policy," the paper said.
To evade the family planning policy, many celebrities and rich people have chosen to give birth outside the mainland.
The Southern Metropolis Daily earlier quoted a Hong Kong obstetrician as saying that more than 60 percent of the mainland mothers who went to Hong Kong did so for the birth of their second child.
A circular, which outlined population policies for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) period, called for the family planning policy to be continued and a low birth rate to be stabilized.
Du Peng, a professor with the Population Research Institute of Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that he expects the policy to be loosened little by little to deal with the country's growing aging population and decreasing birth rate.
"First, families with either the mother or father being the only child can have two children. Then gradually, all families will be permitted to have two children," Du said.
(Source: Global Times)