Forced Abortion in China

The state of human rights in China came under scrutiny on the Internet after suspicions were raised about the alleged suicide of a labor activist and photos of a victim of forced abortion went viral. On June 2 a young woman from Shanxi Province was forced by China’s family planning officials to undergo a chemical abortion at seven months gestation because she and her husband could not produce RMB 40,000 (about $6,400) in fines demanded because of their unauthorized second pregnancy. When family members posted a photo of the mother and the aborted baby, it quickly produced outrage across China. Human rights groups are also questioning the death of Li Wangyang, a union leader and dissident, who officials say hanged himself in a hospital on June 13. Family and supporters of Li, jailed for 21 years because of his involvement in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, publicly challenged official accounts of his death.

Chen Guangcheng, pictured at left, has focused attention to the country's forced abortion and sterilization practices.

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