Hubei woman dies after forced sterilisation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 April, 2013, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 April, 2013, 4:11pm

A 42-year-old woman in China’s Hubei province died last month after being forced to endure a sterilisation procedure, said Chinese media reports.

Shen Hongxia, a mother of two, suffered from gynecological diseases. Doctors had warned her not to have the sterilisation operation because it carried serious dangers for her, said her husband, Cheng Shixiong.

But family planning officials at Hubei’s Tongshan county, where the couple lived, kept pressuring her after they allegedly received a bad rating from provincial officials for failing to "crack down" on families with more than one child, said Cheng.

During several visits officials made to Cheng’s house, they promised the couple to help their second child obtain "hukou" (a record in the system of household registration required by law in China) if Cheng agreed to such an operation. They also offered the couple a 2,000-yuan compensation fee after the procedure was done, he said.

Cheng’s second child, a one-year-old boy, had been denied hukou after he was born. But under mainland law, he will need to have hukou when he goes to school in a few years time.This had worried Shen.

Shen received the operation to be sterilised on the morning of March 19 after officials went to her home and threatened legal action if she didn’t comply, explained her husband.

She bled to death hours after the operation.

Quan Xianfa, the chief information officer at Tongshan county, said that since Shen had signed the surgery documents herself, it had not been a “forced” operation. Her death was simply an accident, he insisted.

“If you trip and fall when you are walking, does it mean you have to blame the people who built the roads?, ”he said.

Officials offered to pay Cheng one million yuan after his wife's death, on condition that he stop pursuing legal action against the local government. Some 500,000 yuan has already been paid into Cheng’s account so far, said reports.

But Cheng said he just wanted justice.

“I warned them so many times that the operation would cost my wife her life,” he was quoted as saying. “Someone has to be held accountable for her death.”