A government audit has discovered that between 2009 and 2012, $260 million worth of fines pertaining to China’s one-child policy were issued in violation of regulations. The fees were implemented to offset the extra expense of providing public services for more children, and are normally used to discourage families from having more than one child. Local family planning departments inaccurately reported numbers of extra children and over-charged fines to collect more than the legal amount from families. Additionally, while collected fines are reserved for public services, the report found that collected fees were being used as “allowance paid for government staff.” The audit has offered a rare look into the finances of China’s family planning system—no information on how the 16.5 billion yuan ($2.7 billion) collected in 2012 was spent has been included in official reports. (Reuters, Sept. 18; The Guardian, Sept. 19)