By Dave Andrusko
Editor’s note. There is still time to register for the National Right to Life convention June 28-30 and to reserve a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Just go to www.nrlconvention.org.
More details came out today about the forced abortion of a Chinese woman in her seventh month, an abuse that stirred worldwide outrage when the photo of Feng Jianmei appeared on the Chinese equivalent of Twitter next to the body of her dead baby.
Zhang Kai, a lawyer who is in talks with the family about representing her, told the Wall Street Journal that he had not been allowed to see Feng in the hospital or reach her husband, by phone.
According to the Journal her husband’s uncle says Feng was in poor health following the abortion and unable to eat. “She’s incredibly sad, suffering psychologically,” Liu Deyun added.
The latest developments, according to a number of accounts, include
· The suspension of three family planning officials who forced Feng to abort her baby. Feng and her husband already had a girl and were unable to raise the $6,278 to be allowed to have a second child.
“Family members said local officials surrounded the house where Ms. Feng was staying and prevented anyone from leaving,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “Ms. Feng tried to escape but was caught and taken to the hospital.” The abortion took place June 2 in Ankang, a city in central China’s Shaanxi province.
· A statement posted last night on the website of the city government, which included that “Pending a thorough investigation into the incident, [the Ankang city government] will pursue strict legal and disciplinary action against the relevant parties. The Wall Street Journal reported, “In a separate statement, also posted Thursday night, the city said it had dispatched deputy mayor Du Shouping to the hospital to visit Ms. Feng and her husband.” In that same statement Mayor Du said, “On behalf of the city government, I’ve come to visit you today to express our sincere apologies,” adding, “I hope we can earn your forgiveness.”
· Writing on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Deng gave further details about the coerced abortion. “While I was rushing to the hospital, they forced my wife to sign a document with her fingerprint, violently held her down and injected her with poison to cause the abortion.”
The story achieved critical mass early Thursday. Those stories focused on the brutality of the forced abortion, the massive number of protests online, and the family’s outrage. “I am not satisfied with the result,” Deng told USA Today in a story that ran early yesterday . “I want the real killer responsible to be punished.”
Deng, a 29-year-old farmer, also talked with CNN by phone. “I’m angry and want justice,” Deng Jiyuan told the cable network. “They forced her to abort our seven-month-old child — do they deserve to be called Communist Party officials who served the people?”
Deng also told CNN that said village leaders who had shown up asked the family “not to hype the incident.”
The story of Feng’s forced abortion comes only a few weeks after a wave of attention paid to the courageous pro-life human rights activist Chen Guangcheng. After more than four years in jail and 19 months of house arrest Chen escaped from house arrest. After a brief stay at the American Embassy in Beijing, and a nerve wracking stint at a nearby hospital, Chen and his family were allowed to fly to the United States.
It was Chen, the blind, self-taught lawyer, who exposed the policy of forced abortion and forced sterilization which landed him in jail on trumped up charges. During the time Chen’s fate was uncertain, Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, testified before the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China that Chen was so intensely persecuted because “he was the one person in China who dared to stand up against the One Child Policy.”
Chai Ling is founder of the All Girls Allowed advocacy group, which has fought the country’s One-Child Policy. “President Hu Jintao said forced abortions do not happen in China, but this family’s testimony shows that they do,” Ling said in a statement. “China cannot continue to sanction the violence committed against its female citizens by family planning officials. Enough is enough. China must end the One-Child Policy and forced abortion.”