Xu Li, who has been held for over 40 hours in the local family planning office in Zhejiang’s Wuyi county, said officials told her they will perform the late-term forced abortion if she fails to pay a fine of 157,000 yuan (U.S. $24,600).
“They have not forced me to have the abortion done yet but threaten me all the time. There are a dozen people monitoring me here,” she told RFA’s Cantonese service Friday.
Xu was detained on Wednesday by over 20 Wuyi county family planning officials while she was on her way home from visiting her sick father with her husband.
Xu’s husband, Xu Dong, is searching for ways to come up with the money while she is in detention, she said.
“They said we have to pay the fine of 157,000 yuan and then they will issue the birth documents for my second child. They said they might refund some of the money to us after all the documents are done.”
“But 157,000 yuan is a lot! It is very difficult to raise this large sum of money,” she said.
Calls to the Wuyi family planning office and staff went unanswered on Friday.
Under China’s one-child policy, forced abortions are common as local officials strive to meet set quotas and impose fines for “excess births.”
Xu said she had been prepared for high fees for the child, which would be her second after her daughter, but not a fine this high.
“The authorities will usually give fines around 40,000 to 70,000 yuan [U.S. $6,300 to $11,000] for families who violate the one-child policy in this rural village where we live. I was prepared for that. But now they’ve put a 157,000 yuan fine on us.”
“It is very difficult for us to gather that much money. I feel helpless that I am in Mainland China,” she said.
She said that since becoming pregnant for the second time she had constantly hid her pregnancy for fear she would have been forced to terminate it earlier on.
She said she wants to have the baby and hoped others would show concern for her case.
The threat on Xu comes after the highly-publicized case in June of a Shaanxi woman, Feng Jianmei, who was forced to terminate her pregnancy at eight months, sparking global outrage.
After a graphic photo of Feng and her dead baby posted online went viral, the government launched an investigation and had officials, who had demanded a 40,000 yuan (U.S. $6,300) fine from Feng, apologize to her.
Feng’s family prepared to sue but settled out of court last month, saying they were afraid of further persecution and wanted to return to a normal life.
Another woman, Pan Chunyan, told RFA in June that local family planning officials in Fujian province had forced her to get an abortion in her eighth month of pregnancy in April.
Despite official investigation into and apologies over Feng’s case, experts say forced abortions have been the norm for decades under China’s draconian one-child policy.
According to recent official data, 31 provinces and cities collect totally up to near 28 billion yuan (U.S. $4.4 billion) a year from enforcing the one-child policy.
Yang Zhizhu, a former associate professor at the China Youth University of Political Science whose family was once fined over 240,000 yuan (U.S. $37,000) for violating the one-child policy, said the rules governing “excess birth” are unclear and often abused by local authorities.
“The definition of ‘excess birth’ is very vague…. They just want to use the birth permit certificate to kidnap the pregnant woman and to extort the family. If you don’t pay the fines, you are forced to abort your child,” he said.
“Their behavior is just like that of gangsters who kidnap people,” he added.
Yang said many pregnant women, especially those in the remote villages, who violate the one-child policy end up dying on the operation table.