Police in China have detained two people after the death of a one-year-old boy who was crushed by a family planning department vehicle during a row over the country's one-child policy.

The death on Thursday triggered outrage both over the brutality of law enforcement in the country and the one-child policy.

The exact circumstances were unclear, with the official Xinhua news agency quoting the boy's father Chen Liandi as saying the baby was dropped during a tussle with officials and he was unable to pull him out of the path of the vehicle.

Social upbringing 'fine'

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 the news agency said.

Xinhua news agency reported that the requested fine totalled more than $4,700 (30,000 yuan) 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.

One-child policy haunts ageing China

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.

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 Thursday.

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.

Source: Agencies