China detains 2 over baby's death

BEIJING - China has detained two people after the death of a 13-month- old boy, who was crushed by a Family Planning Department vehicle, an incident which sparked fury yesterday among social-media users.

In the incident, 11 officials had confronted a family - who already had two daughters - at Ruian, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, demanding that they pay a fine for the boy's birth.

The exact circumstances were unclear, with the official Xinhua news agency quoting the boy's father, Mr Chen Liandi, as saying that the baby was dropped during a tussle with the officials, and that he was unable to pull the boy out of the path of the vehicle.

"We were required to pay 30,000 yuan (S$6,000) to 40,000 yuan (S$7,800), otherwise they would have detained us," Xinhua quoted Mr Chen as saying.

A local Communist Party chief surnamed Bai and a driver named Cheng were detained on suspicion of "committing criminal offences", reports said, citing the Ruian city government.

"They lost their humanity for money. They must be severely punished," said a user of China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo micro- blog, adding terms of abuse.

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