China sacks officials in forced abortion outcry

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China has suspended three officials and apologised to a woman who was forced to undergo an abortion seven months into her pregnancy in a case that sparked a public uproar after graphic photos of the mother and her dead baby were circulated online.

The case has renewed criticism of China’s one-child limit, which, while designed to control the country’s exploding population, has led to often violently imposed forced abortions and sterilisations as local bureaucrats pursue birth quotas set by Beijing.

Feng Jianmei, 27, was beaten and forced to abort the baby at seven months because her family could not afford a 40,000 yuan (£4,014) fine for a second child.

Photos of her and the reportedly stillborn baby lying on a hospital bed were posted online and went viral, triggering a public outpouring of sympathy and outrage.

The government of Ankang city, where Ms Feng lives in north west China’s Shaanxi province, said a deputy mayor visited her and her husband in the hospital, apologised and said officials would be suspended amid an investigation.

The official Xinhua News Agency says two top local family planning officials and the head of the township government.

An anonymous official said that Ms Feng should have been allowed to deliver her baby and then faced punishment according to regulations.