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Chinese Couple Sues Government for Forced Abortion

JBS | September 11, 2007
Ann Shibler

Most are familiar with China's "one-child policy" and forced abortions. But few know that one must obtain a license for even a first pregnancy from local family planning authorities or risk a forced abortion.

Follow this link to the original source: " Chinese parents fight forced abortions "


In 2000, a young couple, Yang Zhongchen and his wife Jin Yani who conceived a child out of wedlock, attempted to obtain a license for the birth of their first child. First, though, they had to wait until Jin was 20 years old to obtain a marriage license, after which they contacted the local family planning agency bureaucrat in order to expedite the licensing process to have a child.

Facing a fine of $660 to $1,330 for not having gotten permission to start a family, Yang treated Di Wenjun, head of the governmental family planning agency, to food and wine. Next Yang treated Di and the village's Communist Party secretary and accountant to more food and wine. These officials put the young man at ease, saying they would "talk to our superiors."

But three weeks later, on September 7, 2000, and a couple of weeks before her due date while Yang was out of town, Jin was abducted in the night, taken to a local clinic, her clothes stripped from her. Next doctors "pushed a large syringe into my stomach," says Jin. "It was very painful. It was all very rough." Doctors then pulled the dead baby from her body with forceps.

The local family planning officials say Jin "consented" to the abortion, but Jin says hers is not the signature on the consent form, but that of Di Wenjun's is. China's National Population and Family Planning Commission is "looking into" the situation.

China's propaganda machine reiterates that they do not perform forced abortions. They also insist that late-term abortions have fallen sharply. (They hesitate to define "late-term" abortions in China.) But the rhetoric is far removed from reality. In the '80s and '90s communist officials sized houses and levied huge fines against those who had more than one child. In the province of Guangxi in the city of Baise and Bobai county, many suffered under the persecution; their houses demolished and their few belongings confiscated enough to make the farmers in the area riot this past May.

Yang and Jin are suing for $38,000 in medical expenses and $130,000 for psychological distress. Jin in particular suffered severe physical and emotional trauma and remains celibate to this day. Yang's business has failed, and he is now a day laborer in an iron mine. They have lost round one of their case and are awaiting the outcome of their appeal. Their two lawyers admit that perhaps the only thing to come out of the ordeal will be more open debate and possibly clearer guidelines on abortion.

This couple's courage is admirable. In the face of overwhelming odds, and facing possible punishment for going public with their plight and attempting to sue government officials, they have the fortitude to forge ahead with the lawsuit in a country where true justice and freedom are non-existent.

Maybe it's because they've nothing left to lose they've already lost their most precious possession, their baby daughter Yang Ying, the baby they never got to see or hold.

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