Associated Press Examines Reaction of People Allegedly Forced To Undergo Abortions, Sterilizations in China
Posted Aug 26 2008 4:26pm
The Associated Press on Tuesday examined the increasing number of "ordinary citizens" who are "speaking out" about the Chinese government's "regular but sometimes brutal intrusion into intimate family matters" to enforce the country's one-child-per-family policy (Olesen, Associated Press , 8/28).
China's one-child-per-family policy seeks to keep the country's population, now 1.3 billion, at about 1.7 billion by 2050. Methods of enforcing the policy, such as fines and work demotions, vary among Chinese provinces and cities ( Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report , 8/7). According to the Associated Press , China bans forced abortions, but late-term abortions are not expressly prohibited or defined.
Some attorneys and social advocates recently have documented cases of forced late-term abortions. Human rights advocate and self-taught attorney Chen Guangcheng prepared a lawsuit documenting 20 cases of forced sterilizations and abortions allegedly carried out in China's Shandong province in 2005 ( Associated Press , 8/28). In August 2006, Chen was sentenced by a court in Shandong to four years and three months in prison for allegedly "willfully damaging property" and "organizing a mob to disturb traffic." An appeals court in Shandong in October 2006 ordered a retrial, but the Intermediate People's Court in the province rejected the appeal and upheld the sentence in January ( Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report , 8/24).
In addition, a couple is suing the Family Planning Bureau in Changli county, China, for an alleged forced abortion. Yang Zhongchen alleges that his wife, Jin Yani, was forced to undergo an abortion in 2000 because the couple did not have a birth permit. A court ruled against the couple, saying that the fetus was conceived before the couple was married. The couple's appeal to a higher court is pending. Yang and Jin are seeking 290,000 yuan, or $38,000, in medical expenses, and one million yuan, or $130,000, in psychological distress ( Associated Press , 8/28).