Human Rights

Report: Family in China hides to escape forced abortion of third child

In an email this week, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn stated that the BBC went undercover in China on the one year anniversary of the ‘relaxing’ of China’s One-Child Policy to find out if forced abortion is still a threat for families illegally pregnant with a third child. The BBC’s report details the fact that despite the Chinese government’s decision to ‘relax’ its One-Child Policy into a Two-Child Policy, forced abortion is still very much a part of the country’s ‘family planning’ efforts.

Littlejohn reports that a Chinese father told BBC’s Beijing reporter John Sudworth that “[a] third baby is not allowed, so we are renting a home away from our village.  The local government carries out pregnancy examinations every three months. If we weren’t in hiding, they would have forced us to have an abortion.” And yet, the father noted, “When I look at our new baby, I feel happy.” Littlejohn writes that this family is “caught between the joy of holding their new baby in their arms and the fear of what will happen to them when they come out of hiding.”

If the family is discovered or comes out of hiding, they could face an exorbitant fine, says Littlejohn, “as large as ten times their annual salary” and could lose their jobs. Most families do not have the ability to pay such a fine.

BBC reporter Sudworth noted that when he visited one of the country’s family planning centers, he asked an official if forced abortions had taken place there. To Sudworth’s shock, the official stated that they hadn’t done any there for “at least 10 years” — a blatant admission that family planning officials were indeed carrying out horrific crimes against Chinese citizens.

During the course of the BBC’s undercover work, a reporter pretending to be illegally pregnant was told by family planning officials that her family would be heavily fined for such an offense. Veiled threats were also made by the officials, writes Littlejohn:

One official told Sudworth’s colleague, “If you’re reported to us, then we’ll find you and we’ll persuade you not to give birth to that baby.” Another official said, “We’ll definitely find you and persuade you to do an abortion.”  When asked if a woman could have a third child and then pay the fine, a third official stated, “No. You just can’t.”

Littlejohn believes that these threats mean China’s family planning authorities still have a “system of informants” and will “continue[] to conduct search and destroy missions” for women who are illegally pregnant.

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