Three Chinese officials suspended after forced abortion on 7-month pregnant woman
THREE local government officials in northern China have been suspended after forcing a woman to terminate a seven-month pregnancy because she had not filled in an application form to have a second child.
A photograph of Feng Jianmei, 23, lying in hospital next to the corpse of her unborn daughter has caused a furore after spreading virally on the internet and has forced the local government to apologise for carrying out an illegal infanticide.
After a preliminary investigation, Jiang Nenghai, the head of the local county’s Family Planning bureau, Cheng Pingyin, the head of Zengjiazhen township and Long Chunlai, Zengjiazhen’s local Family Planning official, have all been suspended from their jobs.
Zhang Kai, a Christian human rights lawyer who has travelled to the town to represent the grieving family, said there was likely to be a criminal case and the officials could be imprisoned if found responsible.
Mrs Feng and her husband, Deng Jiayuan, already have a six-year-old daughter. However, because the couple are farmers, they were entitled under Chinese law to have a second baby, pending approval from local Family Planning officials.
The officials asked Mrs Feng to fill in an application form and to transfer her residency from the city to the countryside where she lived. It is not clear why Mrs Feng failed to do so. She has complained on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, that she was not warned of the consequences.
However, Chinese officials offered her a deal: pay 40,000 yuan (£4,000) to smooth the bureaucracy over. When the family did not have the money to pay, local officials seized her and held her and her baby to ransom, according to her husband. Finally, they gave her child a lethal injection.
The news triggered a furious response on the Chinese internet and the local government admitting that it had “found officials have breached rules in the process of performing their duty”. Members of the local government are now locked in negotiations with the family, after Mr Deng refused an initial offer of £505 in compensation. "I am not satisfied with the result," he wrote on his Weibo. "I want the real killer responsible to be punished."
Mr Zhang, of the Beijing Yijia law firm, said officials have been with the family all day and he has yet to see them, after offering his services over the telephone. “It is possible the government is now trying to gag them,” he said.
Additional reporting Valentina Luo