Another victim of a forced abortion during late-term pregnancy - conducted because of the mainland's one-child policy - is seeking redress through the courts.
Beijing lawyer Xu Can said yesterday he was representing Wu Liangjie, 30, from Daji town in Fujian province, whose wife, Pan Chunyan, also 30, was forcibly given an injection in April that killed her unborn son.
Xu also said a letter would be sent soon to the Xianyou county government, which administers Daji town, demanding that officials investigate the criminal acts of those involved in the abortion. He also said the letter would demand compensation for Wu's family for damages and mental distress.
News of the family's plight followed a forced abortion in early June involving a couple in Ankang, Shaanxi. That incident attracted national attention, as pictures of the aborted fetus, seen next to its grieving mother, circulated online.
The husband in that case, Deng Jiyuan is being represented by Beijing lawyer Zhang Kai, and they are taking action against the county government, seeking compensation.
Although the chances of the lawsuits being successful are slim, Xu said the legal teams were hopeful that the tragedies of the two families would trigger policymakers to recognise and reflect upon how family-planning policies had backfired at the grass-roots level, causing families great pain.
He compared it to a case in 2003, involving the death of Sun Zhigang in Guangzhou. Sun, 27, was beaten while in police custody after being detained under a law that prevented people from travelling outside the place where they held permanent residency. As a result of the incident, the law was abolished a few months later.
'For starters, the country should resort to offering rewards, rather than relying on compulsory means, to reinforce the family-planning policies, such as rewarding those who voluntarily choose to have just one child,' Xu said. 'And even if a punishment is given, it should be an administrative punishment or fine, but never the forced abortion of a late-term fetus. That's a crime.'
The plight of Wu's family came to light after Deng said his wife had been abducted and forced to have the abortion. He said his whole family had been harassed by the local government for discussing the incident with overseas media.
Wu's wife was about seven months pregnant in March when men from Daji town travelled more than 120 kilometres to find Wu in Shishi city, where he was working. They said his wife had to have an abortion or they had to pay a 45,300-yuan fine. The couple already had two children, an eight-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy.
Wu paid 20,000 yuan (HK$24,500) to the village, but he said the fine was returned a month later and his wife was taken away and locked in a room with other pregnant women. Wu said he was then asked to pay a 55,000-yuan fine, which he paid to the township government.
But two days later more than 60 people in several cars showed up to take Pan to a hospital in Xianyou, where she was overpowered by several men and given the injection.
'She knelt down and begged them, but they wouldn't listen,' Wu said by phone. Two days later she had a still birth.
'She cried and screamed at the sight of the body,' Wu said.
Wu has since gone to Beijing, and he said his wife was in hiding after he put their story online and the township government ordered that he delete it or risk being sued or visited by thugs.