A total of 11 officials and personnel of a local family planning station in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were punished after an investigation found a couple who had given birth to 15 children.
During the investigation, authorities learned of a man named Liang Er, 76, and his “wife,” Lu Honglan, 46, who gave birth to four boys and 11 girls between 1995 and 2016.
Following the discovery, a total of 11 officials and personnel, including the head of Licun town in Rong County and the director of the local family planning station, were punished for neglecting their duties, local authorities said on Sunday.
The couple could have faced punishment had they been discovered prior to the end of China’s one-child policy, an effort established by the Chinese government in 1979 to control the growing population and limit the demands on resources.
The decades-long policy has since been phased out after it was eventually changed to a two-child policy in 2015. The government eventually decided to remove the limit and its associated punishments, which included hefty fines and the loss of one’s job, on July 21, 2021.
The couple, who reportedly met and fell in love while working in Guangdon in 1994, had an informal wedding ceremony but never legally registered their marriage. The family has reportedly survived on Liang’s income from collecting resin of pine trees and government-provided poverty subsidies between 2015 and 2019.
Liang and Lu’s lives made headlines in 2016 when the man earned the epithet “Macho Man” for marrying a woman 30 years younger than him and having many children. His wife reportedly also gave birth to most of her children in their home.
Media attention again turned to the couple from Rong County in Guangxi after the Ministry of Public Security launched a campaign against human trafficking at the beginning of the month. The campaign was launched following the wide circulation earlier this year of another case, in which a mother of eight was found chained in Huankou village in Feng County of the eastern Jiangsu Province.