Chinese Woman Tortured, Imprisoned After Fighting Forced Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Chinese Woman Tortured, Imprisoned After Fighting Forced Abortion

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 6, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A Chinese woman who lost her job and was pressured to have an abortion after she became pregnant has been imprisoned and tortured by Chinese officials who are tired of her complaints about her treatment. The actions have sparked outrage within the international human rights community.

Sixteen years ago, Mao Hengfeng was fired from her job at a soap factory after she became pregnant for a second time. She refused to have an abortion, which Chinese population control officials mandated.

Since then, Mao has continued to complain to the Chinese government about what happened, asking officials to allow her to return to work and to restore other basic rights she has been denied.

Instead, according to a Voice of America report, Shanghai authorities apprehended Mao and imprisoned her. In April, they forced her to an 18-month sentence of "re-education" in a concentration camp.

There, Mao has been subjected to brutal torture, according to Nicolas Becquelin of the humanitarian group Human Rights in China.

"According to the information that we received, she was bound, hand and foot and suspended in mid-air and subjected to beatings [to] her limbs and abdomen — very severe forms of torture," Becquelin told VOA.

In addition, Mao’s two daughters have been arrested and interrogated about their role in helping their mother fight her treatment.

Becquelin said affluent couples in China have found ways around the stringent population control regulations — which prohibit couples from having more than one child. Chinese officials force women to have abortions if they violate the policy and men are subject to forced sterilizations.

"In the countryside, family planning officials resort to very brutal methods including rounding up people; forced abortions at [the] later stage of pregnancy, or imposing a wide range of arbitrary fines," Becquelin said.

Shanghai authorities would not comment to VOA about the abuse Mao has faced.

For the fourth consecutive year in a row, President Bush has blocked millions of taxpayer dollars from going to the United Nations Population Fund, because of the agency’s support for China’s population control program

The Bush administration announced Friday that it will divert the $34 million allocated to the U.N. group to a USAID program that provides health care for poor women and children in other countries and for a program that combats the sexual trafficking of women.

Despite the move, pro-abortion Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is attempting to restore UNFPA funding by adding a provision to a foreign aid bill that would reauthorize the funds.

President Bush has already indicated he will veto any bill that redirects money to UNFPA.