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China official, driver held in child’s death

BEIJING — Police have detained a local official and a driver for fatally running over a 13-month-old boy during an argument with his family over the payment of a fine for violating China’s strict family planning limits, state media and the local government said Wednesday.

The boy’s death Monday is the latest incident to aggravate long-running public resentment over the family planning rules that limit many families to one child and some rural families to two. After the incident in a village outside the eastern city of Rui’an, thousands of residents protested outside local government offices, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

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Police detained the two people on unspecified charges late Tuesday, said a statement on the Rui’an government’s official website. Xinhua identified them as a local Communist Party chief named Bai and a driver.

How the toddler came to be run over is not completely clear from the government and state media accounts. Rui’an’s party Propaganda Department declined to comment further.

A team of 11 officials went to the village to persuade Chen Liandi and his wife, Li Yuhong, to pay a fine for violating the family planning limits. Xinhua said the requested fine totaled more than $4,700 and was for giving birth to the boy, the couple’s third child.

An argument ensued and Chen tried to prevent the officials from taking Li to a government office, though she soon relented and agreed to get into a car and go, the accounts said. In the confrontation, the boy dropped from Chen’s arms and was run over by a vehicle, the government statement and state media said. Xinhua said Chen tried to pull the boy away but was too late.

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