» 09/20/2005, 00.00
The Chinese government admits: "Forced sterilisations and abortions took place"
The government admits to "human rights violations in Shandong province" after denunciation by a human rights activist.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies_ - China's Family Planning Agency yesterday admitted that government representatives in the central-east province of Shandong "had carried out forced abortions and sterilisations".
National Population and Family Planning Commission spokesman Yu Xuejun told Xingua (government press agency ed.note) that the commission and the Shandong family planning agency had sent two joint teams to investigate reports of forced abortions and sterilisations in Linyi city since early this year.
"An initial investigation indicates that illegal family planning practices that violate people's legal rights and interests do exist," he said. "Those who are responsible have been dismissed from duty. Some are under investigation, some are in detention. Further measures will be taken by departments concerned."
Mr Yu said the commission would train staff on the rule of law and require them to "correct any infringements of citizens' rights".
Through the year, more than 7,000 people were forcibly sterilised in Shandong province. The sterilisations were denounced by a blind activist, Chen Guangcheng, who was placed under house arrest after he charged the local authorities with carrying out the inhumane practice.
Li Juan, a 24-year-old peasant, who lives near Linyi, said last week that she had been forced to abort her second child, a girl, in February, just two days before the baby was due.
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Arrested: blind activist who uncovered Shandong abortions
Chen Guangcheng, a blind man, has lobbied for people with disabilities for years. After his denunciation, the Chinese Family Planning Agency was forced to admit to "forced abortions and sterilizations, against citizens' rights."
Forced abortions in China killing children just like in Syria
Scandal and outrage over story and the photo of the woman forced to have abortions, pictured with the dying baby boy lying next to her in bed. Shaanxi population control authority have launched an investigation. The woman's husband wants to sue employees who forced his wife to abort. In China, forced abortions are prohibited by law, but papers are full of stories of forced abortions and sterilizations.
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The lawyer of Chen Guangcheng, an imprisoned activist famed for his battles against forced abortion, was beaten and robbed together with his assistant, while the police of Linyi looked on.
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The province authorities confirmed the arrest of Chen Ghangcheng, a human rights activist renowned across the world for his campaign against coercive family planning. He has been missing since March.
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