After a Forced Abortion, a Roaring Debate in China : NPR
Deng Jiyuan and Feng Jianmei, a couple from northwest China’s Shaanxi province, have a 6-year-old daughter. Under China’s complicated birth calculus, they were barred from having another child. But they tried anyway.
“We planned this pregnancy because our parents are old, they want us to have another child,” Deng, 30, explained by cellphone last month from his home in Shaanxi.
That decision led to a sequence of events that has ignited a firestorm and renewed debate over the country’s one-child policy.
People wait to have their blood pressure checked in Shanghai in April. China’s one-child policy is more than just a human rights issue; demographers warn that the low birth rate will result in a shortage of workers to drive the economy.
After local family-planning officials learned 23-year-old Feng was expecting, they demanded more than $6,000 in fines. When the couple failed to pay, officials covered Feng’s head with clothing, abducted her and held her for three days. Then, Deng says, he got a call from a local family-planning official.
“He said, ‘I told you a long time ago that you should have got the money ready and you didn’t do it,’ ” Deng said. “One hour later, my wife called and said it was too late. She’d had an injection.”
The injection induced labor and ensured the couple’s 7-month-old fetus was stillborn. Deng was furious.