Gruesome photos of forced late-term abortion appall China, challenge One Child Policy
June 15, 2012Jing Gao7 CommentsAbortion, birth control, birth control official, Demography, family planning, Feng Jianmei, forced abortion, Hundred Day Childless Movement, Ministry of Health, One-child policy
At 3 a.m. on June 4, three days after being illegally locked up by the local government, Feng Jianmei, a 7-month pregnant woman in a small town in Northwest China, saw the body of her unborn baby dragged out of her uterus. The 7-month-old fetus appeared to have already taken good shape. Feng’s sister, in outrage and grief, took several pictures of the devastated mother lying in bed with her dead baby boy, and later uploaded to the Internet, which has sparked widespread public criticism over the cruelty of the local government as well as the inhumane One Child Policy.
Deng Jiyuan, husband of Feng, wrote in the hugely popular microblogging platform Sina Weibo that the atrocity was the local government’s response to their family’s failure to pay a 40,000 fine for the extra birth (the second child). While he was still hurrying on his way to the hospital, her wife was pinned down and injected with a poison to kill the unborn baby.
Picture of Feng Jianmei and the body of her 7-month unborn baby son sparked public fury
Deng, the husband, said their family is steeped in debt as Deng’s mother is being treated for cancer, and they really cannot afford the 40,000 fine. He showed the reporter a text message (image below) sent to him from a birth control official: “40,000, not a penny less.”
However, the Family Planning and Birth Control Office of Zhenping County, Shaanxi Province, which performed the abortion on Feng, was unapologetic. Li Yongjiu, the deputy director of the office, said that far from by force, the abortion was in accordance with the law, “Many people from the county government approached her and prepared her for the idea. She consented to the abortion.”
Li said that in the past two months, the county saw unsatisfactory results of its effort to control births and was given a warning by the higher-ups. The county is bent on wiping the slate clean and stepped up its effort. But Feng’s family insisted on keeping the baby, which constitutes a violation of the One Child Policy.
Governments at all levels often get away with forced abortion by suppressing such news and staying mum. But this time, overwhelming public pressure on bringing “murderers” in Zhenping County to justice prompted Shaanxi province to investigate the matter. On the evening of June 14, Shaanxi’s provincial family planning commission released a statement, in which they confirmed the veracity of accounts of Deng’s family, saying that the act “is a serious violation of the national and provincial family planning policies and has done harm to the image of the family planning endeavor” and that several officials involved in the matter have been sacked and are awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, the monstrosity of the forced abortion has galvanized the nation into revisiting its draconian One Child Policy, which is imposed on all Han Chinese families and give the Chinese government the right to punish those with more than one child. Netizens flip through the pages of Chinese history and dig up the previously unknown or untold stories of state-sponsored feticide.
Cartoon satire on China’s One Child Policy
One netizen @李培顺 shed light on a massive campaign, called “Hundred Day Childless Movement,” first started in Guan county of Shandong province and later emulated in other rural counties of the province. Zeng Zhaoqi, then county chief of Guan, dictated that in the 100 days from May 1 to August 10, 1991, there be absolutely no child birth, be it the first child or the second child. Any mother-to-be, regardless of her age or condition, was to succumb to this campaign and have her baby aborted forcibly.
Others have referred to records, and found right on the official site of China’s Ministry of Health (link here) that since 2000, an average of seven million abortions are carried out each year, whereas the figure hit the historic high in 1983, when 14.37 million unborn babies were killed. Given that statistics in China are habitually airbrushed by the Chinese government to make them look good, these figures could well be underestimates.
Comments on the Internet regarding the incident are predominantly angry condemnations. Here are a couple of examples:
Chinese Author Chen Lan@作家陈岚 tweeted in her Sina Weibo, “In a period spanning as long as thirty years, (they), in accordance with the law, put to death fetuses that were even about to be born, killing them with poisonous injections…This is a massacre whose scale is unrivaled in human history. Innocent babies were killed in what should have been the safest places. Crying mothers sustained injuries all over her body. The history will set the record straight. Our generation will feel shame over the Auschwitz in uteri in the next 1,000 years.”
Xiao Han@萧瀚微博142世, professor at China University of Political Science and law, wrote, “I stumbled upon a bunch of articles that discuss the draconian Family Planning Policy. What are those Chinese scholars worth? None of them talked about the crux of the issue. Instead, they are all talking about how to enforce it in a humane way. So it’s mainly like, how to eat shit in a graceful way so that one will not be starved or surfeited.”