by Steven Ertelt
September 3, 2004
San Francisco, CA (LifeNews.com) — Continuing a trend of approving asylum for Chinese citizens fleeing forced abortions and sterilizations, a federal appeals court approved an asylum hearing for a Chinese man whose wife was forced by population control officials in China to have an abortion.
Xiao Lan Zheng faced the possibility of being sterilized by the Chinese government and he and his wife’s first baby was aborted because the couple married one year short of China’s official marriage age.
The communist country requires men to be at least 22 years-old and women 20 years-old prior to getting married. Unmarried couples in China are not allowed to have children.
Zheng married his wife, Xiu Qin Wen, in 1992, but Wen was only 19 at the time. As a result, they did not obtain a license.
After learning of the wedding and Wen’s pregnancy, Chinese officials aborted the couple’s baby and Zheng fled on a boat to the United States when he learned he would be sterilized. Zheng was later apprehended by U.S. immigration officials in Guam.
He was denied an asylum hearing, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and told the Immigration Department to allow Zheng to have one because of the forced abortion and China’s strict enforcement of its marriage laws.
"Zheng is therefore eligible for asylum because of the forced abortion of his child even though China does not recognize his marriage to Wen," Judge Raymond Fisher wrote in the opinion.
In March, the 9th Circuit court ruled that a husband of a woman who fled the country after a forced abortion can’t be refused asylum simply because China refused to recognize their marriage.
The court said the Board of Immigration Appeals should have granted asylum to Kui Rong Ma. His wife told him to flee China in 1999 after she was forcibly aborted by population control program officials.
In the Ma case, Chinese population control officials seized Ma’s 63-year-old father and beat Ma until he would disclose where his pregnant wife was hiding.
The federal appeals court also ruled in February that couples who face threats of forced abortions or sterilizations but haven’t actually been victimized qualify for asylum.