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Family compensated for forced abortion, case "settled"

English.news.cn   2012-07-11 11:58:20            

XI'AN, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The family of a young Chinese woman forced to have a late abortion has reached an out-of-court settlement with the government, getting around 70,000 yuan (11,023 U.S. dollars) in compensation, officials said Wednesday.

Feng Jianmei and her husband Deng Jiyuan signed an agreement with the township government of Zenjia, Zhenping county in northwest China's Shaanxi province, late Tuesday to close the case, an official with the county government told Xinhua.

Beijing-based lawyer Zhang Kai, who represents the Dengs, said the family had dropped a lawsuit seeking state compensation after the signing of the agreement.

"The signing of the agreement means neither party should raise any questions related to the issue again," said the official who declined to be named. "The money has been paid."

On Monday Deng said his family was seeking an out-of-court settlement after visiting his sick mother in Nanjing.

"Private settlement is not by any means a bad way of solving this case. I wish the family well," according to the family's lawyer.

The Zenjia township government is committed to providing needed support to the Dengs should any member of the family encounter future difficulties in their life and at work. The government will also provide assistance for the medical treatment of Deng's mother, the official said.

Feng, 23, was forced to abort her baby seven months into her pregnancy at a local hospital on June 2 as the family refused to pay 40,000 yuan demanded by local family planning officials as a guarantee for clearing the legal ground for her to have a second child.

Like most urban residents in China, Feng is not legally entitled to have more than one child.

But the extremely crude means of law enforcement sparked a public uproar and a government probe later found that the guarantee claim was illegal and officials had violated a ban stipulated in national and provincial family planning rules on late pregnancy abortion.

On June 26, two officials -- Zhenping's family planning chief and a top township official -- were fired while four other officials and a hospital president received disciplinary punishments.

"Though the family dropped the civil lawsuit, local prosecutors can still bring criminal charges against the officials involved," Zhang said. "It is a crime to force a woman to abort seven months into her pregnancy."

China's family planning policies, introduced in the 1970s with aims to curb population surge in the world's most populous country, limit most urban couples -- if they are not only children themselves -- to having only one child. However, in many provinces, rural couples can have a second child if their first is a girl.

Reports in recent years of violent enforcement of the family planning policies, especially forced abortion, have irritated many Chinese. In Feng's case, the graphic picture of the mother lying in a hospital bed with her deceased baby triggered a national outcry that finally led to an investigation into the matter.

Prompted by reports of similar cases, the National Population and Family Planning Commission recently sent 10 teams to curb misconduct in family planning law enforcement across the country.

Editor: en_hl
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