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 on Thursday among social media users.
The death triggered outrage both over the brutality of law enforcement in the country and the one-child policy.
In the latest incident a total of 11 officials were confronting a family - who already had two daughters - at Ruian in the eastern province of Zhejiang, demanding that they pay a fine for the birth of the 13-month boy.
The exact circumstances were unclear, with the official Xinhua news agency quoting the boy's father Chen Liandi saying the baby was dropped during a tussle with officials and he was unable to pull him out of the path of the vehicle.
“We were required to pay 30 000 to 40 000 yuan ($4 800 to $6 400), otherwise they would have detained us,” it quoted 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.
No further details were available from local authorities on Thursday.
“They lost their humanity for money. They must be severely punished,” said a user of China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog, adding terms of personal abuse.
Another commentator using the nickname Pearl Bay said: “Family planning is simply to kill people.”
Under China's population controls most couples who have more than one child must pay a “social upbringing” fine, while in some cases mothers have been forced to undergo abortions.
China says the policy, instituted more than 30 years ago, has prevented overpopulation and boosted economic development.
There are exemptions for rural families, ethnic minorities and couples who are both single children themselves.
But some experts have called for the restriction to be phased out as the country's labour pool shrinks and the ranks of the elderly swell, while rights groups criticise what they call harsh enforcement.
There was widespread outrage last year after a woman who had been forced to abort seven months into her pregnancy was pictured with the bloody foetus. - AFP