Thursday, 28 June 2012

Chinese Father Disappears After Protesting Wife’s Forced Abortion

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The man whose wife fell victim to the Chinese government’s strict one-child policy has gone missing after he posted photographs online of his wife and their aborted baby. Government officials had forcibly aborted the late-term pregnancy earlier this month, prompting an international outcry and, consequently, leading to the suspension of three officials in the Shaanxi province. 

The abortion took place on June 2 (seven months into the pregnancy), provoked by the fact that Deng Jiyuan and his wife Feng Janmei could not pay the 40,000-yuan ($6,300) fine for having a second child. In protest of the horrific act, Deng Jiyuan published graphic photos of his dead baby online, attracting a flurry of international criticism and reigniting the debate over China’s controversial one-child policy.

Embittered over Deng’s public reaction, local officials coordinated a backlash against the family, branding them as traitors and setting them under government surveillance. “We are already heartbroken from losing the baby,” lamented Deng Jicai, a sister of Deng Jiyuan. “How did we become traitors?”

Deng Jicai has since condemned the government’s actions, asserting that guards have patrolled outside Feng’s hospital room and have even followed family members when they go to the restroom or leave the hospital. Deng also emphasized that her brother and sister-in-law initially refrained from notifying the media but spoke to German reporters who were traveling to the province after the government refused to deliver investigation results that had been promised.

“We did not make more out of the story,” Deng attested. “My sister-in-law mainly stated what she had experienced.”

Deng Jiyuan traveled to Beijing last week to meet with lawyers and journalists to discuss the incident. But, according to his sister, Mr. Deng was met with fierce resistance. “More than 100 people and a dozen of cars showed up to stop him, and a man suddenly appeared and kicked my brother in the stomach,” Deng Jicai said.

On Sunday, government officials purportedly urged local townspeople to unfold a banner near the hospital where Feng was located, which called the family “traitors” and ordered that they be excommunicated from the town. Meanwhile, photos were posted online displaying a red banner that reads, “severely beat the traitors and expel them.”

Ms. Deng responded on China’s popular Twitter-like service Sina Weibo, decrying the government’s effort to defame and incite violence on her family: 

I feel like crying but have no tears. Where is justice? Zengjia Township, where I was born and brought up, how can I still love you? I just don’t understand in what way I have committed treason! I don’t know what you mean by calling me a ‘traitor.’ My lord, in what way I have sold the People’s Republic of China? I didn’t beg you for pity for my miserable sister-in-law. I didn’t ask you for even the slightest bit of sympathy. Just get lost! Let us go home!!!

Prompted by the family’s tragic story, 43-year-old Zhang Wen Fang has also risked government retribution as she reached out to the human rights organization All Girls Allowed to describe a similar incident that occurred four years ago. LifeSiteNews.com reported on the story:

According to Zhang, on May 23rd, 2008, when she was nine months pregnant, at least eleven Family Planning officials entered her home while her husband was away. Eight or nine men and three women dragged her into a van and took her to the People’s Hospital, where they induced labor despite her protests. At 8 p.m. they tried to inject an unknown chemical into her stomach, and Zhang resisted: “I pulled the needle out,” she said. “But then six men held me down so that they could give me the injection with a second needle.” Afterwards, they kept her in a room and did not let her family know where she was.

Two days later Zhang’s contractions began and then her water broke. “I was saying, ‘Help, help!’ but they ignored me and wouldn’t even let me out of the room,” she said. When she woke up the next day, after having lost consciousness, Zhang’s baby was gone. “When I asked the officials and doctors what happened to the baby, if it was alive or dead, they would not tell me,” she lamented.

“Some people think contacting the foreign media equals selling out the country,” says Liang Zhongtang, a retired social sciences research who now studies China’s family planning policy. In turn, Liang affirms, the Chinese government is pursuing physical recourse to silence media reports that may position the country’s social policy under an unfavorable spotlight. 

Photo; more of the same: Another Chinese couple, Yang Zhongchen, right and his wife Jin Yani pose in their one bedroom home in Qianan, China, July 26, 2007. Seven years earlier, Yang's heavily pregnant wife was dragged from her bed and taken to a clinic, where her baby was killed by injection while still inside her: AP Images