China Arrests Forced Abortion Protesters, Family Planning Officials Killed

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

China Arrests Forced Abortion Protesters, Family Planning Officials Killed Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 24
, 2007

Beijing, China ( — Southwestern China is currently embroiled in an uproar about forced abortions as thousands of people living there have been involved in riots after a campaign by local officials that has resulted in dozens of forced abortions. But Chinese officials have an ironic solution to the problem — more punishments.

The protests began after family planning authorities began forcibly aborting women for violations of the nation’s one-child population policy in April.

Because of the alleged violations of the family planning policy, officials in Guangxi province recently increased fines for offenders and began seizing or destroying the property of people who cannot pay the fines.

Some of the citizens of the area say the fines were instituted even on people who had already paid them and that and the forced abortions cause thousands of citizens to riot and destroy government buildings and property.

Chinese officials are now responding to the situation and the national government has dispatched officials to address complaints concerning the penalties.

However, they are working with local authorities to address the concerns but say they will push for stricter enforcement of the one-child policy.

Huang Shaoming, chief of Bobai county, where the forced abortions took place, attacked the local residents in comments to the New York Times.

He said their response to the forced abortions is because of "backward ideas about birth control and the rule of law."

"It’s also possible that problems exist in the government’s birth control work, which led to the frustration of the people," he added.

Police have arrested 28 people in association with the riots, according to official Chinese media sources.

While the government media did not say whether anyone had died, the Times reports that eyewitnesses say at least five people had been killed in the protests, including local family planning officials who had forcibly aborted the babies and destroyed homes.

As has previously reported, Chinese family planning officials in Guangxi province forced at least 61 women in April to have abortions as late as seven and nine months into pregnancy.

Women said were forced to have abortions because they were unmarried, while other women were married and pregnant with their second child.

The abortions have all occurred at the Youjiang District People’s Hospital of Baise City, where local officials denied the forced abortions were occurring.

An official named Nong told National Public Radio that forcing women to undergo abortions against their will would be against the law and claimed that an investigation by officials into the reports had already been concluded and that officials determined the reports of forced abortions were fabricated.

Guangxi officials over the last month issued fines from 500 yuan, or about $65, to 70,000 yuan, or about $9,000, on families who violated the policy at any time since 1980. The fines are more than most of the residents make in a year.

The Xinhua News Agency, which is the official news outlet run by the Communist government, previously reported that the Baise City government last year missed its family planning target by a fraction of 1%.

Observers say missing the family planning goal may be the reason the forced abortion campaign appeared out of nowhere.