“Chinese officials continue to actively promote and implement coercive population planning policies that violate international standards. The PRC Population and Family Planning Law and provincial regulations limit couples’ freedom to build their families as they see fit.” Source: Page 143, CECC 2015 Report (Emphasis Added)
Such restrictive measures and policies continue to operate through a range of coercive measures, including forced sterilizations across China (and occur too in occupied territories such as Tibet and East Turkestan).
As noted by the the CECC Report:
“Coercive controls imposed on Chinese women and their families, and additional abuses engendered by China’s population and family planning system, violate standards set forth in the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 1994 Programme of Action of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development. China was a state participant in the negotiations and adoption of both. Acts of official violence committed in the implementation of population planning policies contravene provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which China has ratified.” Source ibid
Reports of coercion and atrocities arising from China’s population policies continue:
Region Guizhou Province
On May 12, 2015, the bureaus of education and of family planning in Libo county, Guizhou jointly issued a Notice of Order To Terminate Pregnancy to local school teacher Qin Yi. The notice demanded that she either have an abortion by May 31, 2015, or lose her job. Qin and her husband were remarried, and each had a child from their previous marriages. Under family planning regulations in Anhui province where Qin’s hukou is registered, a couple in their circumstances are allowed to have another child,and Qin had obtained a birth permit in advance from family planning authorities in Anhui in February 2015. But under Guizhou provincial family planning regulations, they were not permitted to have another child. Following public criticism of the decision, the Guizhou Provincial Health and Family Planning Commission intervened and rescinded the pregnancy termination order, allowing Qin to have another child under Anhui’s provincial family planning regulations. (Source: Page 147 2015 Report By CECC)
In May 2015, the Dongguan No. 1 People’s Court accepted an administrative lawsuit from a Mr. Chen of Zhongtang township, Dongguan municipality, Guangdong, against the Zhongtang Township Public Security Bureau for refusing to issue hukou to his twin sons who had been ‘‘illegal residents’’ (heihu) for over four years due to their lack of hukou. The public security bureau in charge of issuing hukou required Chen to provide a ‘‘certificate of family planning’’ from the local family planning office, but officials at the family planning office refused to issue the certificate unless Chen’s wife underwent sterilization. According to Liu Huawen, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, there are many similar cases nationwide, and local regulations that link family planning measures to hukou registration are ‘‘inappropriate’’ and should be amended to protect the fundamental rights of children. (Source: Page 147 2015 Report By CECC)
Region Hunan Province
According to a December 2014 Consumption Daily report, family planning officials in Pingjiang county, Yueyang municipality, Hunan, required women who had given birth to undergo IUD insertions and sterilizations before they could obtain hukou for their children. According to the same report, Chinese legal experts and state-run news agency Xinhua noted that such arbitrary restrictions have no legal basis and violate Chinese laws. (Source: Page 147 2015 Report By CECC)
In January 2014, more than 20 government personnel in Yuqing county reportedly took Tan Kaimei, who suffered from uterine fibroids, to the local family planning office where they signed her agreement on an operation consent form and pinned her down while performing a sterilization procedure on her.Tan and her husband reported to the U.S.-based human rights organization China Aid that officials refused to give them a legal explanation for the forced procedure. Source: Page 105 2014 Report By CECC
According to a January 2014 Xinkuai Net report, family planning officials in Baiyun district, Guangzhou municipality, were withholding ‘hukous’ (household registration permits) for children or welfare disbursements from families if the mother refused to have an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted. While one district-level family planning official claimed that the registration of ‘hukous’ and disbursement of welfare had been linked to IUD insertion for all 11 years of her involvement in family planning implementation, a higher level official interviewed for the report claimed such linking was not permitted. Source: Page 105 2014 Report By CECC
In December 2013, local family planning officials in Hotan prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, reportedly forced four Uyghur women to undergo abortions. According to Radio Free Asia, one of the women was in her ninth month of pregnancy. Local officials acknowledged the four abortions had taken place, stating that they were only following orders from higher authorities and that they planned to conduct two more. Officials at the hospital where authorities reportedly took the women denied having carried out any forced abortions. Source: Page 105 2014 Report By CECC
In late September 2013, 20 officials in Weifang city broke into the home of Liu Xinwen, six months pregnant with her second child, and took her to a local hospital for a forced abortion. Officials prevented her husband from accompanying her and did not tell him where they had taken her. At the hospital, the officials reportedly forced her consent, and administered the abortion before her husband could find her. Source: Page 105 2014 Report By CECC
In July 2013, local family planning officials reportedly forced 18-weeks-pregnant Li Fengfei to the local family planning office for a forced abortion. After beating her and breaking one of her teeth,the officials reportedly forced her to fingerprint an abortion consent form and subsequently injected her with several medications to induce the abortion. The medications reportedly killed the fetus, but did not successfully induce labor. Nine days following the induction, reports indicated that Li remained in the hospital in critical condition, as her body had still not gone into labor. According to a September China Aid report, authorities arrested Li on charges of embezzlement after she spread information about her forced abortion on the Internet.Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
Region: Yunnan (which includes annexed and occupied Tibetan territory)
In July 2013, local family planning officials took away Guo Xingcong for a sterilization procedure. Later the same day, his wife found him dead at the door of their home after apparently having been severely beaten. Officials reportedly claimed that he had committed suicide and buried the body quickly without the family’s approval. According to Guo’s family, even though he had never violated population planning policies, authorities had targeted him for years, demanding that he be sterilized and that he pay a fine of 10,000 yuan (US$1,633) for exceeding the birth quota. Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
In May 2013, local family planning officials reportedly forced Zhang Yinping, who was six months pregnant with an ‘‘out-of-plan’’ child, to accompany them to the family planning office for an abortion.Following the surgery, Zhang reportedly suffered from severe hemorrhaging, which caused her to die the next day. Zhang’s family reportedly protested at the family planning office following her death, and the county government mobilized public security personnel to stop the protest.Officials investigated the matter as a ‘‘medical accident’’ and ordered the surgery unit to suspend its practice.Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
In March 2013, local family planning officials reportedly detained a woman sur-named Lu, who was seven months pregnant with an ‘‘out-of-plan’’ child, and took her to a local hospital for an abortion. Medical personnel at the hospital injected her with a substance that caused an abortion two days later. In an interview cited in a March 25 China-Aid report, Lu’s husband said that the family was seeking compensation from the government.
Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
In March 2013, local family planning officials visited the home of 42-year-old Shen Hongxia and her husband and threatened court action if she did not undergo a surgical sterilization. Shen’s doctor had declared her medically unfit for sterilization, but she and her husband consented to further examination at the local family planning office. Instead of examining her, officials performed a sterilization surgery on her, resulting in her death.Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
In March 2013, local family planning officials ordered Wan Liqiao to pay a 6,000 yuan (US$980) ‘‘protection fee’’ to avoid having to undergo a tubal ligation after her third pregnancy. One day later, and before she could come up with the fee, officials forced her into a van and took her to the local family planning office, where they performed a tubal ligation surgery on her without prior medical examination (she has a rare blood type) and without obtaining her or her family’s written consent. Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
In February 2013, seven or eight local family planning officials took Nie Changmin to a local family planning office and forced her to undergo a sterilization procedure. Due to a mistake made during the procedure,
Nie required several additional weeks of medical treatment in a nearby hospital. Nie reportedly had two ‘‘in-plan’’ daughters and subsequently had an IUD inserted, all in compliance with local regulations. Source: Page 101/102 2013 Report By CECC
“Family planning officials in the south-eastern Chinese province of Fujian held a woman down on an operating table in an attempt to carry out a forced sterilization, but her struggles made them give up the attempt, the woman said on Thursday. Huang Yongchun, of Huyang village in Fujian’s Shanghang county, said that officials from her local village first tried to insist she submit to a pregnancy test, before putting her onto an operating table at a local family planning clinic and holding her down. “They took me over there this morning, and about eight of them held me down on the operating table,” (Radio Free Asia ‘Woman Flees Forced Sterilization’ 2012-01-12)
Although communist China and its apologists claim the program does not impact upon Tibetans, it is imposed upon occupied Tibetan areas (marked in bold below) . As noted by the US State Department: 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Published March 11, 2010
“Several provinces–Anhui, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Hunan, Jilin, Liaoning, and Ningxia–require “termination of pregnancy” if the pregnancy violates provincial family-planning regulations. An additional 10 provinces–Fujian, Guizhou, Guangdong, Gansu, Jiangxi, Qinghai, Sichuan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Yunnan–require unspecified “remedial measures” to deal with unauthorized pregnancies.”
When Hillary Clinton landed in Beijing for her 2009 meeting with the Chinese leadership there was some hope that the issue would feature in her keynote address, the US Secretary of Sate had previously condemned China’s coercive population program in 1995.
“It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have an abortion or sterilized against their will.” (UN Conference on Women-Beijing 1995)
More recently Chinese women are speaking-out and challenging such abuses. According to the report, Ms.Zhang Linla, who has a four-year-old daughter, informed a website based in Shenzhen, close to Hong Kong, that she was coerced into a late forced abortion due to becoming pregnant again before the period officially permitted between births. According to Ms Zhang:
“Six days before the due date, 10 strong strangers came to my house, forced me into a truck then took me to a family planning clinic, where the doctor gave me an injection.The child began struggling in my womb and one of these scum even kicked me in the abdomen. Then the baby came out and they threw it into a rubbish bin. I could even see it was still moving.”
During February 2009 a Yunnan (some parts of which is formed by annexed Tibetan territory) newspaper documented another instance of forced sterilization. It concerned a woman, named as Ms.Zhang Kecui, who was kidnapped in the street by family planning officials and forcibly taken to a clinic where she was tied onto a medical table and sterilized. She was reported as having two children, which according tor China’s draconian population regulations meant Ms.Zhang should have undergone ‘birth-control surgery’ (forced sterilization) after the second birth. Such accounts are all too familiar in China, Tibet and East Turkestan, where human and reproductive rights are brutally denied by order of the state.
Another report, which appeared on a number of websites during September 2008, involved a case of infanticide in Wuhan, central China. A farmer, named as Huang Qiusheng, said his wife, who was nine months pregnant, gave birth to a live child, despite being forced to submit to an injection to induce an abortion. The infant was thrown into a toilet.The following day an elderly woman, named Liu Zhuyu, heard the infant crying, so rescued it and delivered the baby to a nearby child clinic. The reports document that family planning officials then challenged Liu, grabbed the infant and killed it by dashing the child to the ground.
(Source: The Sunday Times, 02/15/2009)
Surrogate Mothers Targeted For Forced Abortions
“With China’s rising affluence, increasing numbers of infertile couples have been seeking surrogate mothers to bear them babies. In recent years, officials have largely turned a blind eye to this underground womb-for-rent industry that defies the country’s strict childbirth laws. Now, there are signs the authorities are starting to crack down by forcing some surrogate mothers to abort their fetuses. In the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, three young surrogate first-time mothers were discovered by authorities hiding in a communal flat. Soon afterwards, district family planning and security officers broke into the flat, bundled them into a van and drove them to a district hospital where they were manhandled into a maternity ward, the mothers recounted to Reuters.
“I was crying ‘I don’t want to do this’,” said a young woman called Xiao Hong, who was pregnant with four-month-old twins. “But they still dragged me in and injected my belly with a needle,” the 20-year-old told Reuters of her ordeal which happened in late February.
The woman, who declined to give her full name for fear of reprisals, said the men had forced her thumbprint onto a consent form before carrying out the abortion. Another of the surrogates, who said she’d come from a village in Sichuan province, recounted how officers made her take pills then surgically removed her three-month-old fetus while she was unconscious. “I was terrified,” the 23-year-old said.
A spokesman for the Guangdong Provincial Family Planning Commission Zhong Qingcai declined to be formally interviewed by Reuters, but said authorities were investigating. The official Guangzhou Daily newspaper quoted district family planning officials as saying the women were all unmarried and acting as “illegal” surrogates. It added the three had “agreed” to undergo “remedial measures” in accordance with the law.
But the head of the surrogacy agency caring for the mothers, disputes this version of events.”It’s an absolute crime,” said Lu Jinfeng, the founder of the “China Surrogate Mother” . “By forcefully dragging people away like this to undergo an abortion is a savage illegal act that violates human rights.”
Underground networks of surrogacy agents, hospitals, and doctors have spread in recent years as infertile Chinese couples with money hire surrogates to produce babies for them. The surrogates are often confined to secret flats for most of the duration of their pregnancy to avoid detection, while fertility, obstetrics and childbirth procedures for the mothers are often carried out discreetly by medical staff at public hospitals and health clinics with links to agents.
With around one in six couples in the U.S. now estimated to be infertile and with similar rates seen in China as modern urban lifestyles take hold, surrogacy agencies have been recruiting girls, often from poor villages, to have babies on behalf of prospective parents, in ever greater numbers. Accurate figures on the size of the industry are hard to come by, but a recent report by the respected Southern Metropolis Weekly estimated around 25,000 surrogate children have been born so far in China, citing research into surrogacy agency websites carried out by family planning authorities. Hundreds of Chinese surrogacy agencies are openly listed on Chinese search engines like Baidu, luring prospective clients with maternal imagery and pop-up windows offering live chats. Prospective surrogate mothers are openly recruited and paid between 50,000 to 100,000 yuan ($14,650) per pregnancy on some sites, making it a lucrative profession for poor village girls in a country where the average annual per capital income for rural households is around $600″. (Source: Reuters 4/30/2009)
Account of Birth Control Officer Forcibly Aborting by Injection
A report documents an account of a Communist Chinese Birth Control Officer forcibly aborting a baby, just two days before it was due. The report states that twenty-two Shandong residents, who had been subject to various forms of coercion by the Birth Control Office, are submitting a law suit to the Linyi City Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong Province. One woman was given an injection by the Birth Control Officer to kill the baby just two days before it was due.
The Information Center also reported that on 24th August 2006, blind Chinese human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, was sentenced to four years and three months imprisonment. He has submitted an appeal to the Linyi intermediate court. One hundred and thirty-seven witnesses agreed to submit testimony to the court in defence of Chen, including those twenty-two women, whose had been abused by the Birth Control Officer and had received help from the activist. The Information Center quoted one of the witnesses, Chen Xirong, of Xiajiagou Village, Fei county in Shandong Province, who said that three years ago his daughter-in-law Li Juan had nine months pregnant and just two days before the baby was due she was abducted by the Birth Control personnel and taken to a hospital where she was injected with a drug which killed the fetus. A dead baby girl was born 10 hours later. According to Li’s family, the authority has not done anything as yet about this “intentional killing” and the personnel involved have not been punished. (Source: Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, 9/27/2006)
Undercover Documentary Exposes Forced Sterilization of Tibetan Woman
The following extracts featured in the UK Channel Four TV Documentary ‘Undercover in Tibet’, broadcast on 30th March 2008. The film included an interview with a Tibetan woman who recounted her harrowing experiences of forced sterilization. The program refers to a Tibetan who is investigating communist China’s coercive birth-control program inside Tibet:
Narration: “Despite years of torture and imprisonment, this man is determined to continue to fight the Chinese. More recently he has been investigating the government’s population control policies.” The torture victim said: “There were 6 million Tibetans before Chinese rule. There are only about 5 million of them in the Tibetan region today. So there has been no population growth in this period. Yet now they are carrying out forced sterilizations in the Tibetan region. Those who refuse are punished. They are implementing this here and now. This is a violation of human rights.”
Narration: “Tash had made contact with a woman who claimed to have had personal experience of enforced sterilization. She asked the team to arrive in the early hours of the morning, terrified of the consequences of foreigners being seen coming to her house.”
Tibetan Interviewer: “She’s very nervous…”
Narration: “She said she had a child out of quota under the terms of China’s one child policy. As a result, she was given the choice of a fine she couldn’t pay or sterilization.”
Tibetan Lady: “Those who can’t pay the fine have to have a sterilization. If you have good connections you can buy a sterilization certificate for around 1000 Yuan. But those who don’t have any money have to have the sterilization whether they like it or not. I was forcibly taken away against my will.”
Tibetan Interviewer: “Did you cry?”
Tibetan Lady: “I cried when I was lying on the bed after the sterilization. I cried thinking that I’d been forced to have a sterilization when there was nothing wrong with me. I was feeling sick and giddy and couldn’t look up. It was so painful. Apparently they cut the fallopian tubes and stitch them up. When they opened me up they pulled them out by the roots. It was agonizing. They didn’t use anesthetic. They just smeared something on my stomach and carried out the sterilization. Apart from aspirin for the pain there were no other drugs. And then from the day after the operation I had to look after myself. If I needed a drip I had to pay for it myself.”
Tibetan Interviewer: “Can you show me the scars from the sterilization?”
Narration: The woman shows Tash her scars.
Tibetan Lady: “I was so frightened. I can’t even remember how I felt. I wasn’t the only one. About half a dozen women in our village had to undergo sterilization.”
Tibetan Interviewer: “Forcibly?”
Tibetan Lady: “Yes, forcibly. No one would have done it willingly. They come to the door to fetch you by force. They threaten to confiscate stoves and anything valuable from the house. So people get frightened and go for the sterilization. Some people were physically damaged by the operation. They have limps and have to drag their hips. Since then people are too scared to have many children.”
Narration: “The Chinese government says that the one child policy does not apply to Tibetans. But this woman’s experience is far from unique. In 2002 a UN special rapporteur said women in Tibet are subjected to forced sterilization, forced abortion, coercive birth control policies and the monitoring of menstrual cycles.”
Former Tibetan Doctor Criticizes US Population Research as a Whitewash
(Editors Note: This press statement was in response to a misleading and fact-free article by UK journalist, Mr John Gittings (Guardian February 25th 2002) which seems to have been based upon the dubious conclusions of ‘anthro-apologist’ and Sinophile Prof. Melvyn Goldstein. Having conducted a geographically minute and superficial ‘survey’ (under the keen guidance of the communist Chinese authorities) the Professor concludes coercion, within birth-control, was non-existent in Tibet. His ‘findings’ are a shameful attempt to conceal the brutal reality of communist China’s coercive population control program.
“Recently, I have seen a online report in a UK newspaper about a US research team visiting some areas of so-called Tibet Autonomous Region for doing research, without escorts of Chinese Govt. The report concluded that the Chinese policy of birth-control and implementation on Tibetan women is not a forced! I am very much surprised to see it. I am a Tibetan refugee woman from Amdo, North-Eastern Tibet having reached Dharamsala (northern India) recently. In my country, I completed a course from Medical School of Tsholho in 1993 and from then, up to July 2001, I have been working in family planning at a health-centre for women and child. My job known as ‘white dress’ or doctor provided me with direct experience of birth-control and mother and child care.
We have to propagate the Chinese policy of birth-control among the farmers and nomads in villages and remote areas. It claims ‘less family member will face no economic problems’, however the farmers and nomads are not opting for birth-control willingly or because of economic pressure. If it is so, why it is made mandatory target of birth control? The common practice and methods of birth control includes sterilization, ligature, ‘birth-control surgery’, inter-uterine-device of the woman have a miscarriage, induce labour etc.
There is no proper system of transportation in the remote rural regions of my country, besides high hills and long routes for women and have to come several times to hospital which is either in Shang or Zong level. These arduous journeys are made because of the reality of coercion (fines and force), so nobody comes willingly! In addition all medical and surgery charges are paid for by the women herself. This became a burden not economic development for a family.
For example, in the district where I worked, carried out planned birth-control operations. After taking women age group of 18 to 35 in villages and district level, forced birth-control operations were carried out. The number of birth-control surgery to be done in a place per year is fixed and we have to carry out these ‘surgeries’ to fulfill the given duties. In many places a forced ‘lottery system’ is applied to complete the number of women to be operated upon against the will of respective women.
People called it ‘human murdering tax’ rather than willingly. For example, in year 1989 to 1995, six hundred women were given birth-control surgery.This is a case of a small district where the population is about fifty thousand. Most operations are done in the hospital of village (Shang) level where the medical equipment, living places and other facilities are backward, besides there is no health guarantee for our Tibetan sisters in these cold climates of Tibet.
Birth-control operation is implemented as per fixed number in a place, applying various methods for birth-control. In 1997 two hundred and forty women were subject to ‘birth-control surgery’ which resulted in the women having a ‘miscarriage’, a further four hundred and six women suffered induced labour surgery in 1999. A woman from Chhusang, Sengdeng village, Tsholho Tsigor District of Tshongon (Amdo) died due to this type of birth-control surgery in July 2000. Every sentient being have their value of birth and death, and is a deep and important call of people. In this new era Chinese never care about the life of a private person.
In my view the findings of a place by the researchers team cannot represent six million Tibetans living in Tibet which is divided by Chinese into one autonomous region, ten autonomous prefectures and two autonomous districts etc. Any researchers (team or a person) who visits Tibet under the knowledge of Chinese Government are allowed only after well prepared, educated to answer and terrified them [sic] in advance, Hence to say that they visited villages without official escorts and had complete freedom of movement can’t portray freedom (in Tibet). For example, the places, the villages and the houses where to visit are fixed in advance, besides the village head and regional secretary of communist party used to monitor them. If any person answers against their instructions will face penalty or punishment as per severity of talk.
Therefore, Tibetans in Tibet can be asked question under the protection of UNO, otherwise they (Tibetan) can’t express their feelings. I am praying for such day to come. Being a doctor of women and child I had experienced, saw, heard and am proud to prove it to the world, hence made this fact appeal to correct the untruth, also sure people will understand a genuine matter.”
(Source: Losar Kyi 03/06/2002-English translation of Chinese and Tibetan version)
Planned Birth Officer Enforced One Child Policy Abuses in China
The following statement by a former family planning official was featured in a conference by the Laogai Reseach Center USA.
“For fourteen years, I served as a planned birth officer in the Fujian province of China. With this identification card, I enforced the one child policy with whatever means necessary. A wife and mother myself, I worked in an office lined with files on women, detailing the most personal nature of their health from their menstrual patterns to records of contraception insertions. This is a photograph of my office’s exterior. Slogans line the front wall instructing that giving birth is only permissible to married couples that have received government permission. This photograph of my office shows the cage where family members of women who became pregnant illegally were detained.
Aside from detainment, my office, under my leadership, dismantled homes, sterilized women, and aborted infants to enforce the planned birth policy. I am not a doctor, and yet I controlled the reproductive health care for all women in my town. During this fourteen-year tenure as a planned birth official, I witnessed great suffering of those who violated the population policy. Many of them were crippled for life, while others were victims of mental disorders resulting from their abortions. Families were ruined or destroyed. I myself did so many brutal things, yet at the time, I thought I was implementing the policy of the Communist party, and that I was an exemplary citizen, a good cadre.
Once I watched a woman nine months pregnant undergo an abortion. She had no other children, but had not yet received her certificate allowing her to give birth. According to policy, this too warrants an abortion. After this experience, I could no longer bear seeing mothers grief-stricken by induced delivery and sterilization. I could not live with this on my conscience. After all, I am a mother as well.
To be a planned birth officer is to take on a role of great pressure. Should an officer allow mothers to exceed the birth quotas of a town, the legal consequences would befall the officer. The Chinese government is far more concerned with the results than the methods a local officer may take to achieve them. In that sense, a birth control officer’s job is somewhat open-ended. While detainment of family members and dismantling of homes may not be included in official doctrine, there is very little to prevent local officers from resorting to those practices to save their own jobs. I know very little about the UNFPA, but I do know that any organization that is contributing to China’s population control policy is encouraging these officials to implement forced abortion, sterilization, and punishments ranging from detainment to house destruction as means of enforcement. I learned that this is an unacceptable way to live as a human being, and I can only hope that China soon realizes this as well.” (Source: Statement of Gao Xiaoduan, 1/24/2002)
Campaign of Forced Abortions and Sterilizations in China
According to a report (March 2005) officials in China have unleashed another campaign of forced abortions and sterilizations, it documents the case of 23 year-old, Li Juan who, just two days before her child was expected to be born, was pinned down by birth control officers, who injected her with some form of poison. The atrocity is reported to have occurred at a local ‘clinic’ in Linyi region, in Communist China’s eastern Shandong province.
She reported that the needle was driven into her abdomen until it entered the 9-month-old fetus. “At first, I could feel my child kicking a lot,”says the 23-year-old. “Then, after a while, I couldn’t feel her moving anymore.” Ten hours later, Li delivered the girl she had intended to name Shuang (Bright). The baby was dead. To be absolutely sure, says Li, the officials submerged the infant’s body for several minutes in a bucket of water beside the bed. All she could think about on that day last spring, recalls Li, was how she would hire a gang of thugs to take revenge on the people who killed her baby because the birth, they said, would have violated China’s family-planning scheme.
In March 2005, family-planning officials in Linyi’s nine counties and three districts invaded villages, looking to force pregnant women to abort and/or be sterilized. Many women refused to undergo the procedures, others went into hiding, often in family members’ homes. The crackdown intensified. Relatives of women who resisted sterilization or abortion were detained and forced to pay for “study sessions” in which they had to admit their “wrong thinking,” says Teng Biao, an instructor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, who visited Linyi last month to investigate the coercive campaign.
In the Linyi county of Yinan alone, at least 7,000 people were forced to undergo sterilization between March and July, according to lawyers who spoke with local family-planning officials. Several villagers, the lawyers allege, were beaten to death while under detention for trying to help family members avoid sterilization. Officials in Linyi deny that anything improper has happened.
The plight of Linyi’s women was publicized by a most unlikely man. Chen Guangcheng was blinded at a young age in Linyi and learned massage in Beijing, one of the few subjects those without sight in China are allowed to study. In March, a stream of distraught peasants complained to him of forced sterilizations and the detentions of family members. Chen, 34, had heard about the campaign; many people in his village, he told Time, had been imprisoned at one time or another for defying the sterilization order. women like Hu Bingmei. When family-planning officials came to fetch her in May for a forced sterilization, Hu escaped with her two daughters to her parents’ home in another village. Several days later, seven officials showed up, she says, grabbed her younger child and shoved the girl into a car. Afraid that her daughter would be abducted, Hu jumped into the vehicle with them. women like Hu Bingmei. When family-planning officials came to fetch her in May for a forced sterilization, Hu escaped with her two daughters to her parents’ home in another village. Several days later, seven officials showed up, she says, grabbed her younger child and shoved the girl into a car. Afraid that her daughter would be abducted, Hu jumped into the vehicle with them.
The car drove to the local family-planning clinic, where, Hu says, nurses threw her onto an operating table. “Other people were fine after their operations, but it hurt me so much, I could barely stand up,” says Hu. Two weeks later, doctors operated again and promised things would heal better. But even today, Hu doubles over in pain after just a few steps.“They told me they were doing this for my own good,” says Hu. “But they have ruined my life.”
(Source: Time Magazine-10/30/2005)