Two top officials in Zhenping county, Shaanxi, were sacked yesterday for forcing a woman to abort her seven-month-old fetus earlier this month.
The Ankang city government, which oversees Zhenping, had concluded an investigation into Feng Jianmei's case, Xinhua reported, and found that the county officials had violated state and provincial government family planning policies when they forced her to have a late-term abortion.
The investigation report confirmed that local officials had asked Feng's family for 40,000 yuan (HK$49,041) as a 'guarantee deposit' - which Feng's husband Deng Jiyuan, said was actually a fine for having a second child. It said officials had no legal grounds to collect such 'deposits'.
The authorities sacked Jiang Nenghai as chief of the county's family planning bureau and Chen Pengyin as head of the Zengjia township government. Meanwhile, five other officials including deputy county chief Yu Yanmei and Pan Yishan, the head of Zhenping County Hospital, were given demerits.
The investigation, however, also found Feng's household registration status is not rural, as declared in her marriage certificate. That may mean under existing regulations she is not entitled to have a second child.
There was a nationwide outcry after Feng, 23, was forced to abort her fetus. A photo showing the blood-soaked remains lying beside Feng in hospital was widely circulated on the internet.
Deng Jicai, Feng's sister-in-law, said last night that she wondered why those who should be held directly responsible were not punished at all. 'Jiang is seemingly innocent as he has only just assumed the position,' she said, adding that as far as she knew, Jiang had been attending a meeting elsewhere at the time and had been unaware of the forced abortion.
Deng Jiyuan went missing on Sunday after banner-wielding protesters branded the family as traitors for accepting foreign media interviews and demanded they leave their hometown. Deng Jicai said her brother called his wife on Monday afternoon. 'He said nothing more than telling my sister-in-law not to worry and to have a good rest,' she said.