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.
The population of China at the moment has reached the 1.3 billion mark and according to government estimates, it will peak at 1.46 billion in 2030.