An international human rights group has announced the creation of a new fund to help fight the forced abortions that are often used to enforce the Chinese state’s one-child policy.
Bob Fu, president of the nonprofit organization China Aid Association, explained on June 19 that “the clock has started ticking on China's forced abortion policy.”
China Aid, a group that monitors and aids victims of human rights violations in China, has launched a Chinese Children Defense Fund. Money from the fund will help hire lawyers to defend families facing forced abortions, as well as to pay fines to avoid such abortions and to collect more information about coerced abortions and sterilizations in the country.
“In the long run, this evil system needs to end and it will end when the Chinese people stand up and demand it,” Fu said. “We stand by ready to help anyone who is victimized in this way.”
He pointed to the tragic recent case of Feng Jianmei, a seven-month pregnant Chinese woman who was taken to a hospital and forced to undergo an abortion because she and her husband could not afford the state-imposed fine for having a second child.
Because the couple already has one daughter, the state would not grant them permission to have a second child. Reports indicate that when they were unable to pay the 40,000 yuan fine, equivalent to about $6,300, family planning officials surrounded the house and forcibly took Feng to the hospital.
Feng's husband, Deng Liyuan, wrote on a prominent Chinese microblogging website that authorities had injected his wife with poison to cause the abortion against her will.
Family members said that Feng – who is 23 years old – was struggling both physically and psychologically after the abortion.
The case drew international attention and anger when graphic photos of Feng lying in a hospital bed next to her aborted fetus began to spread online.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese authorities say that have apologized to Feng and her husband. The officials involved in the incident have been suspended, they say, and an investigation is currently underway to bring about a proper legal and disciplinary response.
However, critics of China’s one-child policy argue that forced abortions are common in the country, despite technically being illegal, and that authorities only apologize when caught in international media attention.
"A life was lost unnecessarily on June 3," said Fu. “Unfortunately, millions of lives are lost each year in similar circumstances.”
“Local officials have admitted that this forced abortion was illegal, we will demand that someone is held responsible,” he added.
China Aid has played a critical role in drawing attention to forced abortions and other human rights abuses under China’s brutal one-child policy.
Fu recently helped draw attention to the plight of blind Chinese pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng, who spent several years in both prison and house arrest after exposing forced abortions and sterilizations that take place routinely within the country.
Chen escaped from house arrest and spent several days at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing before agreeing to be transported to a local hospital to treat the injuries he sustained in escaping.
After leaving the embassy, however, he became fearful for the safety of himself and his family and asked to leave the country.
Fu spoke to Chen at the hospital and testified before members of Congress regarding his situation. Amid international pressure, Chen was ultimately permitted to come with his immediate family to the United States in order to rest and take classes at New York University.
In addition to raising money to help save Chinese women from immediate threats, Fu believes there is an underlying need to put pressure on the Chinese state to show respect for basic human rights.
“The international community should also ask the Chinese government to end a practice that makes modern China look barbaric and backward,” he said. “Forced abortions are not a choice but violence against women and their unborn children.”