The husband of a woman from China’s Shaanxi Province who was forced by officials to abort a seven-month fetus this month said he will sue the local authorities, according to his lawyer.
“The harm [the family planning bureau] did to them would be categorized as serious harm,” lawyer Zhang Kai was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese service. “They could pursue them under the category of causing injury, and they should use this [clause].”
The couple will sue the government for compensation instead of a subsidy that was offered by local authorities, who last week apologized to the woman, Feng Jianmei and her husband Deng Jiyuan. Officials in her city of Ankang said the family planning officials would be punished.
The incident incensed Chinese netizens after a photo of her and an apparently dead fetus laying next to her was circulated on the Weibo microblogging webiste.
“We just haven’t decided yet exactly [how] to pursue this lawsuit,” Zhang added.
Feng and Deng were also labeled “traitors” on banners that were placed outside of their home after they spoke to foreign news organizations about the forced abortion, according to RFA. There were also more than a dozen security personnel that were stationed outside.
“The people who had surrounded us have all left,” Deng’s sister Deng Jicai was quoted as saying. “They wouldn’t actually stop us from doing anything, but they would follow us wherever we went.”
In a possible attempt by the Chinese Communist Party to distance itself from the scandal, China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission said it will inspect the country’s family planning bureaus for what were described as improper practices when implementing the controversial one-child policy, reported the state-run Global Times.
The Commission will emphasize local planning bureaus to collect “social maintenance fees,” which have costed Chinese families tens of thousands of yuan. Feng was told to pay 40,000 yuan ($6,270) to local officials, but her family could not come up with the money.
At the same time, the Commission wants to quash “unstable social factors,” the Times reported. It will also deal with petitions relating to the one-child policy.
Xie Xue, a judge, said that forced abortions are not considered intentional homicide or kidnapping but are an intentional injury crime, which could result in a three- to 10-year-long sentence for the suspects involved in Feng’s case, according to the newspaper.
However, “China’s family planning departments are above the law,” lawyer Zhang told the Wall Street Journal. “Even when they do something illegal it is rare for them to be held responsible.”Deng told the Journal that local officials’ response has been lukewarm at best by punishing the family planning bureau, offering an apology, while noting that the local authorities harassed her family and refused to take responsibility for their actions.
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