by Steven Ertelt
March 10, 2005
San Francisco, CA (LifeNews.com) — A Chinese man whose wife was forcibly sterilized under China’s coercive one-child family planning policy has been awarded asylum in the United States in a landmark appeals court decision. The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could expand the group of people eligible for asylum who are victims of the forced abortion policies.
Quili Qu came to the United States in 1997 on a business visa and applied for permanent asylum in 2001.
He told an immigration judge that he and his wife married in 1978, but they were denied a permit to have a child because Chinese officials believed his families was affiliated with an anti-Communist group and because they were Christians.
When Qu’s wife became pregnant, she fled to a rural area to escape authorities.
Three years later, the Qu family received a birth permit. Qu’s wife waited for months and told authorities she had just become pregnant.
Later, officials became suspicious and visited the Qu family and found an older child instead of a newborn.
Qu and his wife then became the subject of government discrimination. Eventually, his wife was abducted by family planning officials and taken to a clinic for an involuntary sterilization.
When Qu sought asylum in 2001, an immigration judge denied the request and ruled that Qu’s wife could not be sterilized again. The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the ruling because Qu stayed in China for 11 years after the sterilization.
The 9th Circuit appeals court disagreed with the ruling and determined that forced sterilization "permanent and continuing act of persecution."
"Involuntary sterilization irrevocably strips persons of one of the important liberties we possess as humans: our reproductive freedom," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote for the three judge panel, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
"Therefore, one who has suffered involuntary sterilization, either directly or because of the sterilization of a spouse, is entitled," without having to prove anything else, to refuge in the U.S., he wrote.
The 9th Circuit has consistently overturned asylum rulings by immigration judges.
In September, the court approved asylum 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.