Abortion father safe in Beijing, his lawyer says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am


The husband of a woman who was forced to have a late-term abortion in the northwest province of Shaanxi appeared in Beijing yesterday, four days after disappearing amid allegations of harassment by officials in his hometown.

The whereabouts of Deng Jiyuan, 29, had been a mystery since Sunday, as his family had not been able to reach him. But his sister, Deng Jicai, said he called her yesterday afternoon to say he was safe with his lawyer in Beijing.

Deng Jiyuan and his family said they had been followed after their plight drew international attention, and Deng fled on Sunday while being followed by a woman on a motorcycle, instead of several people as usual. He had gone to Beijing for a television interview and to seek legal help.

Deng Jiyuan's wife, Feng Jianmei, was abducted and forced by local authorities in Zhenping county, Shaanxi, to abort her seven-month-old fetus on June 2. Pictures of the dead baby, seen lying next to Feng, were then posted online.

Legal academic Yang Zhizhu , who himself battled with authorities after having a second child two years ago, said yesterday that he and Beijing lawyer Zhang Kai were preparing Deng Jiyuan for a lawsuit.

Yang said that on Sunday that Deng Jiyuan had crossed a river to get away from his pursuer. He hid in a friend's home for two days, then hired a car. When he reached another town, he took a 10-hour bus ride then a 20-hour train ride to Beijing.

He said Deng planned to seek compensation for emotional stress, as well as for physical harm caused to his wife, who was forcibly given a lethal injection to kill the fetus and induce labour.

In the fallout over the scandal, city officials in Ankang, which administers Zhenping, said on Tuesday that the chief of the county's family planning bureau and the head of the Zengjia township government had been sacked, while five other officials, including the deputy county chief, had been given demerits.

Ankang promised to offer money to the couple for their 'family difficulties', but they and their legal team rejected the offer.

'We want compensation for damages, not an allowance for the poor family,' Yang said.

'We want those responsible for the abortion to be charged with crimes, not receive administrative punishments.'

Deng Jiyuan is currently declining interviews with overseas media, according to Yang, who cited an incident on Sunday involving a banner-waving crowd in the couple's hometown that branded them traitors for granting such interviews.