【 CNN 】   Post Date: 5/1/2012
Forced Abortions and Sterilizations Continue in China, According to Activists
Author: Ashley Hayes
The recent escape of Chen Guangcheng, renowned for his legal defense of women forced into abortion and sterilization by Chinese authorities, has brought attention back on to the plight he fought so hard for.  There are around 13 million abortions performed annually in China, and often female fetuses are the target due to the preference in traditional Chinese culture for male heirs.
When Ji Yeqing awakened, she was already in the recovery room.
Chinese authorities had dragged her out of her home and down four flights of stairs, she said, restraining and beating her husband as he tried to come to her aid.
They whisked her into a clinic, held her down on a bed and forced her to undergo an abortion.
Her offense? Becoming pregnant with a second child, in violation of China's one-child policy.
"After the abortion, I felt empty, as if something was scooped out of me," Ji told a congressional panel in September. "My husband and I had been so excited for our new baby. Now suddenly all that hope and joy and excitement disappeared. ... I was very depressed and despondent. For a long time, whenever I thought about my lost child, I would cry."
As she lay unconscious, she said, an IUD to prevent future pregnancies was inserted.
The issue of forced abortions -- and in some cases, forced sterilizations -- in China has seized the spotlight in recent days with news of escaped activist Chen Guangcheng.
Chen, a blind, self-taught lawyer, rose to fame in the late 1990s because of his advocacy for what he calls victims of abusive practices, such as forced abortions, by Chinese family planning officials. He investigated forced abortions and sterilizations in eastern China -- a practice China denies -- and helped organize a class-action lawsuit on behalf of victims, for which he served four years in prison.
A fellow activist, Hu Jia, said Chen has taken refuge at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
"Chen may be safe for the moment, but the women for whom he risked everything are not," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, a California-based organization that describes itself as a "broad-based, international coalition that opposes forced abortion and sexual slavery in China."
"Forced abortion is not a choice," Littlejohn said. "It is official government rape."
On a January 2011 visit to the United States, Chinese President Hu Jintao reportedly denied that China was forcing women to submit to abortions. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, who gave Hu a list of human rights concerns, said that Hu insisted a forced-abortion policy did not exist, according to media reports.
China's population is the largest on earth, with more than 1.34 billion people. Since its implementation in 1979, the one-child policy has prevented more than 400 million births in China, according to China's National Population and Family Planning Commission.
About 13 million abortions are performed nationwide each year, the commission has said -- about 35,000 a day. It is unknown how many of those are coerced.
But the one-child policy has been blamed for abuses. In some cases, advocates say, fetuses identified as female are aborted, or midwives strangle a female infant with the umbilical cord during delivery, identifying the baby as "stillborn," according to All Girls Allowed, a nonprofit group that aims to end female "gendercide," educate abandoned girls, rescue trafficked children and defend women's reproductive rights.
Other females are abandoned, left to die or raised as orphans.
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Key Words: Chen Guangcheng, human rights China, political dissidents China, forced abortion, forced sterilizati
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