China's Henan province asks mother to return one-child policy bonus: State media

BEIJING - Chinese authorities in the central province of Henan have asked a mother who applied for a permit to have a second child to return the bonuses handed out to her in recent years when she complied with China's one-child policy, state media said on Tuesday.

The People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, cited a mother surnamed Chen as being told by local authorities in the city of Zhengzhou that "if (she) wants to have two children, (she) must refund the one-child monies that she had previously enjoyed".

The money is a bonus paid to families who decide to have one child in keeping with China's strict one-child policy and are awarded the "Parents of one-child honour certificate".

The government said last year that it would allow couples to have a second child if one of the parents was an only child, in the most significant relaxation of its population control regime in nearly three decades.

The move by the local government of Henan has "made many people very puzzled", said the People's Daily. Officials in Henan could not be reached for comment.

Chen, whose daughter is four, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that she would have to return close to 1,000 yuan($162.82).

Beijing gives local governments a wide mandate to enforce the one-child policy.

Even as China relaxes the rules, allowing millions of families to have a second child, government encroachment into family matters still continue.

Family planning officials require families to apply for licences to have children, leaving room for possible abuse.