Woman Sues Chinese Government After Forced Sterilization Left Her With Medical Problems

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Feb 3, 2015   |   4:52PM   |   Beijing, China

In a bold and unprecedented move a Chinese woman has sued the government for forcing her to have tubal ligation surgery, which is a procedure where a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked and severed. In 2012, members of the family planning committee in Dayuan County took Xia from her home to a hospital where she underwent sterilization against her will.

According to Voice of America (VOA), two years after the surgery, Xia was diagnosed with pelvic congestion syndrome, a condition caused by varicose veins in the lower abdomen. Now Xia believes she should be compensated for medical fees and psychological damage caused by the sterilization.  But unfortunately, the court rejected Xia’s case because they said her medical problems are unrelated to the forced sterilization.

However, legal analysts say the lawsuit is significant because it’s the first case of a Chinese citizen attempting to sue the government for forced sterilization.  Xiong Jing, an activist for Feminist Voice, a woman’s rights group in Beijing commented on the case.

She said, “That happens to a lot of rural women in China.  Xia is not the only case. But she was the first one to file a lawsuit to the government and ask for compensation.  I think that is really important and may encourage some other Chinese women who are in a similar situation, and it may urge the Chinese government to protect women’s reproductive rights and their right of informed choices.”

Susan Finder, an attorney who’s been observing China’s judicial system for twenty-years told VOA that even though Xia’s case was turned down, it could bring reform to Chinese law.

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She said, “This is one little case.  There are thousands of cases in Chinese courts, but it should be seen as a positive development, that she is aware of her legal rights and did something about it.”

William Nee, Amnesty International’s China researcher says the China’s One-Child-Policy results in officials forcing women like Xia to have abortions or sterilizations.

He said, “The irony is that with the demographics in China right now, is that they are potentially facing an under population crisis. Cities like Shanghai have some of the lowest birthrates in the world.”

As LifeNews previously reported, in 2013 a woman named Shen Hongxia died after a forced sterilization, which took place against a doctor’s orders. She already had two children and her death left them motherless. Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, spoke out against forced sterilizations after Hongxia’s death.

She said, “The Chinese Communist Party recently admitted to performing 196 million sterilizations.  These sterilizations too often leave women butchered and maimed, and can at times be deadly.  I first learned of the brutality of China’s One Child Policy by representing a woman who had been forcibly sterilized.  Family Planning Officials literally dragged her out of her home kicking and screaming, held her down to a table and cut her open with no anesthesia.  She said it felt like someone was burning her insides with a blowtorch.  Since then she has lived in chronic pain. We need to fight forced sterilization as much as forced abortion in China.”