China: Woman Dies After Forced Sterilization

Shen Hongxia
Shen Hongxia is the latest victim of forced sterilization in China. (Women's Rights Without Frontiers)

A mother of two died after a forced sterilization, which took place against a doctor's orders, Women's Rights in China reports.

On March 19, a doctor at Tongshan County warned that sterilizing Shen Hongxia would be life-threatening. Nevertheless, local Family Planning Officers forcibly sterilized her, in order to avoid an "illegal pregnancy." Shen Hongxia, 42, died, leaving behind her husband and two children, one of whom is two years old.

The Family Planning Bureau and the Village Committee attempted to cover up their criminal responsibility by making an agreement to compensate the family by installments, and to build them a house. Family members felt forced to sign the agreement, as they saw no other way to seek relief.

"Women's Rights Without Frontiers strongly condemns forced sterilization and all coercive family planning in China," says Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers. "The fact that Shen Hongxia's doctor had clearly warned that sterilizing her could kill her makes her death the responsibility of the Family Planning Officers who forced this violent surgery upon her. Compensating her family with money is not enough. Those responsible for her death should face serious criminal charges."

This is the second death related to forced sterilization in March alone. In the other case, a woman who had been forcibly sterilized twice was found hanging in her local Family Planning Office, under suspicious circumstances. 

"The Chinese Communist Party recently admitted to performing 196 million sterilizations. These sterilizations too often leave women butchered and maimed, and can at times be deadly," says Littlejohn. "I first learned of the brutality of China's One Child Policy by representing a woman who had been forcibly sterilized. Family Planning Officials literally dragged her out of her home kicking and screaming, held her down to a table and cut her open with no anesthesia. She said it felt like someone was burning her insides with a blowtorch. Since then she has lived in chronic pain. We need to fight forced sterilization as much as forced abortion in China."

Sign a petition against coercive family planning here.

 

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