3 officials suspended in forced abortion case

China suspended three officials and apologised to a woman who was forced to undergo an abortion seven months into her pregnancy in a case that sparked an uproar after graphic photos of the mother and her dead baby were circulated online.

The moves appeared to be aimed at allaying public anger over a case that has triggered renewed criticism of China’s widely hated one-child limit. Designed to control the country’s exploding population, the policy has led to often violently imposed forced abortions and sterilisations as local authorities pursue birth quotas set by Beijing.

Feng Jianmei, 23, was beaten by officials and forced to abort the baby at seven months on June 2 because her family could not afford a 40,000 yuan ($6,300) fine for having a second child, Chinese media reported this week.

Photos of Feng lying on a hospital bed with the blood-covered baby, reportedly stillborn after a chemical injection killed it, were posted online and went viral, prompting a public outpouring of sympathy and outrage.

A commentary posted on the official website China.org.cn said the forced abortion “is society’s shame.” Another said the case exposed the lack of humanity in some administrative officials.

The government of Ankang city, where Feng lives in northwest China’s Shaanxi province, said a deputy mayor visited Feng and her husband in the hospital, apologised to them and said officials would be suspended amid an investigation.

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