Register on site Sign in

Xinhua Insight: Forced abortion family compensated amid law enforcement overhaul   2012-07-12 08:30:00

  A Chinese woman who was forced to abort her seven-month pregnancy has been compensated in an out-of-court settlement, authorities said Wednesday.

  Feng Jianmei and her husband Deng Jiyuan signed an agreement with the township government of Zenjia in Zhenping county in northwest China's Shaanxi province late Tuesday. Feng's forced abortion has ignited criticism both home and abroad since it was reported in early June.

  The couple received around 70,600 yuan (11,023 U.S. dollars) upfront as a "subsidy" from the government, a township official said. The government is also committed to supporting the family in the future.

  Beijing-based lawyer Zhang Kai, who represents the family, said the family dropped a lawsuit seeking state compensation after the signing of the agreement.

  "The signing of the agreement means neither party should raise any questions related to the case again," said the official who declined to be named.

  On Monday, Deng said his family was seeking an out-of-court settlement after visiting his sick mother in Nanjing.

  "A private settlement is not by any means a bad way of solving this case. I wish the family well," the family's lawyer said.

  Feng, 23, was forced to abort her baby seven months into her pregnancy at a local hospital on June 2, as the family was unable to pay a 40,000-yuan fee demanded by local family planning officials.

  Like most urban residents in China, Feng is not legally entitled to have more than one child.

  The haphazard and crude enforcement of the one-child policy has sparked public debate about the regulation. A government probe found that the fee charged by the local officials was illegal, adding that the officials violated a ban stipulated in national and provincial family planning rules by forcing Feng to undergo a late-term abortion.

  On June 26, two officials -- Zhenping's family planning chief and a top township official -- were fired over their role in the forced abortion, while four other officials and a hospital president received "disciplinary punishment."

  "Although the family dropped the civil lawsuit, local prosecutors can still bring criminal charges against the officials involved," Zhang said. "It is a crime to force a woman to abort seven months into her pregnancy."


  China's family planning policies, introduced in the 1970s to curb a population surge, limit most urban couples -- if they are not only children themselves -- to having only one child. However, in many provinces, rural couples can have a second child if their first is female.

  Reports in recent years of the violent enforcement of family planning policies, especially forced abortions, have angered many Chinese. In Feng's case, a graphic picture of her aborted fetus lying next to her in a hospital bed triggered a national outcry that eventually led to an investigation.

  Prompted by reports of similar cases, the National Population and Family Planning Commission is sending 10 teams to 19 provinces, cities and counties to curb misconduct in family planning law enforcement.

  "No law enforcement raids will be allowed and there should be a system in place to prevent violent enforcement," said Wang Xia, head of the commission.

  She said family planning concerns people's most immediate interests and any minor error can result in severe consequences. Wang asked the teams to listen to the public's complaints and help work out solutions to their problems.

  In Shandong, local officials have been told to uphold the rule of law in enforcing family planning policies.

  "No matter how difficult the work is, officials are not allowed to resort to violence or break the law themselves," said Li Min, head of the provincial family planning bureau.



source : Xinhua     editor:: Diana
  Related Reading