04/08/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Hubei: woman dies after the authorities forcibly sterilise her

The Family Planning Bureau in Dabacheng fails to heed the doctor who said operation was "dangerous for patient's life". Hongxia Shen, 42, was "guilty" having already two children. She was killed to prevent more "illegal pregnancies".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Hubei's provincial government forcibly sterilised a woman "guilty" of having had two children, resulting in her death, Women's Right in China, a group that monitors China's infamous family planning, reported. According to the group, the Communist government admitted to performing 196 million sterilisations.

The latest tragedy took place in the small village of Dabacheng. On 19 March, local authorities took away Shen Hongxia, 42, to sterilise her and prevent another "illegal pregnancy".

Her doctor asked the government not to proceed with the operation since her life could be at risk. His call was not heeded. Immediately after her sterilisation, Shen died leaving behind a husband and two children (the youngest is two).

The Family Planning Bureau and the local village Commission tried to cover up the incident and forced the victim's family to sign an agreement not to divulge the details of the case in exchange for a sum of money and a new house.

This is a common practice in China, but the money often ends up in the hands of local officials and not those who are entitled to it. In this case, Shen's husband said he was "forced to sign, we had no choice."

This is the second death linked to forced sterilisation in the past four weeks. Another woman taken away to undergo sterilisation was found dead hanging in the local offices of the Family Planning Bureau. The family filed murder charges since the victim had not given any sign she might want to commit suicide.

In a statement, Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights without Frontiers, explained that her organisation "strongly condemns forced sterilization and all coercive family planning in China. The fact that Shen Hongxia's doctor had clearly warned that sterilizing her could kill her makes her death the responsibility of the Family Planning Officers".

The woman's death comes after "The Chinese Communist Party recently admitted to performing 196 million sterilizations," Littlejohn said. For this reason, "We need to fight forced sterilization as much as forced abortion in China."

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