Chinese family fear for father after horror of forced abortion

The one-child policy is widely hated in China, and there is growing pressure to abandon it

Beijing

A family forced to abort a seven-month-old foetus to meet China's controversial one-child policy has been branded as traitors for going to the foreign media, and there are fears the police have detained the father.

Feng Jianmei was abducted from her home by five men from the local family planning clinic and forced to have an abortion earlier this month. Graphic photos of Ms Feng lying in her hospital bed with the bloodied foetus beside her caused widespread shock in China and reopened the debate over the rule limiting couples to one child.

Three officials were suspended from duty a day after the scandal was exposed, but the controversy continues to fester. The family, who live in Zengjia Town in the northern province of Shaanxi, say they are being harassed, followed by local officials and thugs, and beaten.

Ms Feng's husband Deng Jiyuan, 29, is missing. He had called to say he was safe but there was no indication of his whereabouts.

Photographs circulating online show scenes eerily reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, a period of ideological frenzy in the 1960s and 1970s which destroyed millions of lives. In the street, protesters carry banners with slogans saying "Beat traitors and drag them out" and "Expel them from Zengjia".

While the local government denies involvement, there is a suspicion of official involvement in what looks like an organised campaign against the family. While local officials seethe at the family, more broadly within China, the case has generated a lot of sympathy.

The 22-year-old Ms Feng had failed to pay a hefty 40,000-yuan (£4,025) fine for exceeding the terms of the strict population control policy, which was introduced more than 30 years ago and requires couples to limit their family to one child, with some exceptions.

Mr Deng spoke at the time of how his wife almost killed herself out of panic. He told of how Ms Feng had been blindfolded and forced to sign an agreement to have the abortion.

A web commentator from Henan wrote on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, that the family was only protecting its rights. "How can they become traitors? Maybe they were harming officials' interests. It's ridiculous, the people with the banners, and those who did the forced abortion, are idiots."

There are exceptions to the one-child policy – those from some ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and rural families can give birth to two children if the first is a girl. In some cities, more than one child is permitted if both parents are single children.

The programme is widely hated, and there is growing pressure to abandon the policy as China's population gets older. The government insists the policy is needed to help distribute limited resources in the world's most populous nation. There are 1.3 billion people in China now, and the government says that figure would be 1.7 billion had it not initiated the programme.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Secondary supply teachers required in Wisbech

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary teachers ne...

    PPA Cover Teachers Required in Doncaster

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Primary PPA Teachers required for wo...

    Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

    £21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

    Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering