Forced-abortion family accept compensation

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 July, 2012, 12:00am


A woman who was forced to have a late-term abortion last month, in a case that sparked a nationwide outcry, has reached a settlement with the local government responsible by accepting 70,600 yuan (HK$86,640) in cash compensation.

Bowing to government pressure to end the furore, Deng Jiyuan, the husband of Feng Jianmei, signed a deal with the Zengjiazhen township government in Shaanxi province on Tuesday.

'We don't have any option even if I don't like it,' Deng said yesterday. 'We ordinary residents just want to live a stable life. It's hard to explain in a few words.'

Feng (pictured after the abortion) was discharged from hospital yesterday morning. She was abducted by township family planning officials on June 2, forced to have a lethal injection into the seven-month-old fetus she was carrying and induced into labour after the family failed to pay a 40,000 yuan fine for having more than one child. Deng was away at the time and the family could not afford to pay the fine.

Days later, Deng returned to town and drummed up extensive media coverage of the tragedy, presenting pictures of the dead foetus lying next to his exhausted wife on a hospital bed and generating overwhelming public sympathy and outrage.

The family was then harassed by officials for exposing the scandal, especially to overseas media. Deng was beaten up and the family branded traitors. People threatened to kick them out of the town before Deng fled to Beijing to seek legal advice at the end of last month.

Two officials have been fired and five others punished over the matter.

The settlement was not well received by internet users, with one microblogger calling Deng a coward and another accusing the family of being motivated by money rather than justice.

'It's not about the money,' Deng said. 'I would have pursued the lawsuit if I didn't have so many burdens.'

He said he his mind had been made up after going to Nanjing, against the advice of his lawyer, where he met officials from his home town and his mother, who was being treated for cancer.

'She said our whole family had to live in the town and it would take at least two years for the lawsuit,' Deng said. 'She had been worrying ... I can't stick to my lawsuit any more.'

Zhang Kai, a Beijing lawyer who represented Deng, said the compensation was in line with mainland practice in cases of emotional trauma.

40,000 yuan

The fine, in yuan, for families who have more than one child on the mainland