Woman refusing sterilization beaten to death in Fujian: relatives


BEIJING, AFP

A 34-year-old woman in southeast China’s Fujian province was beaten to death by birth control officials who wanted to sterilize her against her will, her relatives said on Saturday.

Sun Zhonghua, from a farming family in Xiapu county near the provincial capital of Fuzhou, was taken away by birth-control officials from her home by daybreak on Wednesday, a relative told AFP by telephone.

The officials told Sun, the mother of two boys aged 12 and 13, that she was to be taken to the birth-control clinic for sterilization, a procedure they had previously been pressing her to submit herself to.

She refused vehemently, showing documents obtained from a local hospital in April that the planned operation was not advisable because of a medical condition.

Despite her and her relatives’ protests, she was forced into a waiting car and driven away.

In the afternoon of the same day, officials informed Sun’s relatives that she had died after jumping from the fourth floor of the building housing the local birth-control administration.

Family members who were allowed to see her body discovered large bruises to her head and different parts of her body.

“There is no way she could have received those injuries from jumping to her death,” said the relative.

During the anxious hours on Wednesday while Sun’s relatives were waiting for news about her, they went to the police to report the birth-control officials’ violent manner when taking her from her home.

But they were given the rounds by a string of police officials, who appeared unwilling to get involved in the case.

“We tried to report the incident, but there was no one to report to,” said the relative.

Already being the mother of two, Sun understood that she had to conform with national population policies and had no plans of giving birth to more children, her family said.

She had gone to the hospital every year since 1992 to make sure she was not pregnant, they said.

Mainland China’s controversial “one child” policy continues to result in serious human rights violations 20 years after it became law.

In the early years, the world was shocked by mass campaigns to round up women and sterilize them almost like cattle.

Such public campaigns are rare now, but the policy is being enforced in ways that many human rights groups say are equally unjust.

Pressure on China’s army of family planning workers to meet the birth quota in their jurisdiction have led to widespread excesses.

Family planning workers and local officials resort to beating people, locking them up illegally, confiscating livestock and destroying their homes.

Despite the harsh measures, births are still growing at an annual rate of 10 million and the government has vowed to continue the policy to cap the population at 1.6 billion by the year 2050.

Mainland China’s population now stands at nearly 1.3 billion, the largest in the world. Beijing credits the policy for helping the country avoid 300 million births.