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China: Late-Term Abortion Forced by Corrupt Officials

Images of a woman forced to undergo a late-term abortion in Ankang Shaanxi Province in China have been circulating widely in Chinese social media and micro-blogging platforms triggering furious reactions. The photo shows a woman lying in bed with a 7-month old stillborn baby [Warning: graphic image]. Government authorities have apparently chosen not to censor the news. Instead the hashtag “7 month pregnancy forced to abort” is currently listed in the top 10 news item on the socia media site Sina Weibo.

In the 1980s China introduced a one-child policy that restricts many couples from having more than one child with several exceptions for rural couples, people without siblings, and others. The policy is enforced at the provincial level through fines. According to an article on Radio Free Asia from June 12, 2012, the mother, Feng Jiame, accuses officials of a local family planning bureau of forcing her to undergo an abortion because she failed to pay a RMB 40,000 (about $6,000 USD) fine on time.

Even though Shaanxi officials are now under investigation and the state-run media have stressed that late-term abortions are illegal in China and should not be tolerated, netizens are venting much anger, and say that such inhumane tactics are common in spite of laws.

Chinese family planning poster

Reproduction of poster that says: 'Do a good job in family planning to promote economic development', Zhang Zhenhua, 1986 – shared on Flickr by IISG (CC BY 2.0)

These are some comments from Weibo:

@牵手白头kx:#怀孕7月遭强制引产# 类似事情在三秦大地上发生的还少嘛?特别是前几年有计生人员大白天抢粮的,有牵人家耕牛的,还有抢家电.家具的。就跟电影里的日本鬼子进村一样。这就是具有中国特色的社会主义社会呀!

@牵手白头kx:This is not uncommon in China. A few years ago, the officials of a family planning bureau would rob people's grains, cows, electric appliances and furniture in broad daylight. It is similar to movies showing how Japanese soldiers entered Chinese villages (during the World War II). This is socialism with Chinese character!


@中华飘:There are many stories behind forced abortion. In rural areas, it is a common practice that you have to pay for giving birth to extra children. The traditional Chinese idea of keeping the lineage of a family has provided an opportunity for officials in the family planning bureau to turn a profit.


@北京奔驰宝马配件商:If you can pay on time, then the baby can be born or otherwise die. Money in exchange for life. The Chinese family planning bureau is ruling over life and death, it is the Yama's temple. Where has all the money gone? Now you know how come we have so many corrupt officials. Such practices are seen everywhere, particularly in remote villages, this policy has proven once again that China does not uphold human rights.


@岽鎏芝罘:Since the 80s (the beginning of the one-child policy) up till now, how many innocent lives have been lost? How many families have been ruined? How many women have suffered from breast and uterus cancer? How many women have been forced to undergo abortion? How many officials have taken the opportunity to rob people's money? This is legal murder of millions of lives, the most inhumane policy ever in history.


唯一__Single: Unforgivable. This is not an isolated incident. Such kind of things happen so often but Chinese law has failed to punish these acts. That's why all the rich have left China.

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