Fury over forced abortion prompts apology

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES in China have suspended three officials and apologised to a woman who was forced to undergo an abortion seven months into her pregnancy in a case that sparked fury after graphic photos of the mother and her blood-covered dead baby were circulated online.

Feng Jianmei (23) was beaten by officials and forced to abort the baby on June 2nd because her family could not afford a 40,000 yuan (€4,970) fine for having a second child.

The actions were aimed at soothing public anger over a case that has prompted renewed criticism of China’s widely despised one-child policy of population control. While there is recognition in China, the world’s most populous nation, of the need for population control, the inhumane way the law is implemented has angered people.

The policy has led to often violently imposed forced abortions and sterilisations as local authorities pursue birth quotas set by Beijing.

Du Shouping, deputy mayor of Ankang city in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, visited Ms Feng and her husband in hospital, apologised and said officials would be suspended amid an investigation.

“Today, I am here on behalf of the municipal government to see you and express our sincere apology to you. I hope to get your understanding,” he said.

Under the regulations for implementing state family planning laws, local officials can lose their annual bonuses and be ruled out for promotion if anyone breaches the policy, putting pressure on functionaries to follow the letter of the law.

There was a similar scandal over forced abortion last October when a woman, already the mother of one child, died in Shandong province during a forced abortion. She was six months pregnant and her family posted gruesome photographs of her lying dead on a trolley in a treatment room.

The scandal over the forced abortion comes amid a growing chorus of complaint over substandard medical care in China. Many believe the rise in the country’s fortune have not been matched by improvements in the state medical system, despite a wide-ranging programme to improve healthcare provision in China.