The Chinese government's strict controls on family size, including a one-child policy for most urban families, have brought down annual population growth to below 1 percent (Reuters)
A Chinese farmer committed suicide at a Communist chief's residence after local officials confiscated his family's annual harvest for violating the one-child policy, according to Chinese media reports.
The policy limits couples to a single child, with a few exceptions. Rural couples are allowed to have a second child if the first was a girl and, after the Chinese government pledged to relax the policy last month, families are to be allowed two children if one parent is an only child.
Ai Guangdong, 45, was a father to five children and owned more than 3.5 tonnes of corn to last his family until next year's harvest, before it was seized by officials in the northern town of Liang'erzhuang.
Ai went to a Communist party chief's house to protest against the decision before ingesting a lethal dose of pesticide.
Ai and his wife Xie Yufeng had raised four daughters and a son, with their farm only bringing in approximately 5,000 yuan (£500) annually, according to the People's Daily Online.
The farmer's wife Xie said that local officials had been taking fines from the couple ever since their second child was born and even requested 60,000 yuan (£6,000) after their third child was born.
"We could never afford that," she said, adding that they were not given receipts for the previous fines they had to pay.
Media reports suggested that the town chief had disappeared since the incident, and that the family rejected offers of 15,000 yuan compensation and future social security payments.
The incident comes after one of China's most famous film directors, Zhang Yimou, admitted violating the policy and now faces a 160m yuan (£16m) fine if found guilty.
To contact the editor, e-mail: