China: Forced Abortion Hits Human Rights Agenda

A Muslim Uighur woman who’s more than six months pregnant remained under watch in a hospital in China’s far northwest Friday awaiting a forced abortion by authorities who don’t want her to have a third child.

A nurse who’s tending to the woman at a hospital in Yining, near China’s border with Kazakhstan , said physicians had delayed the abortion because of international queries about her case.

By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers

China maintains a one-child-per-family rule on majority Han Chinese, with more flexible rules for ethnic minorities, to contain its massive population of 1.3 billion citizens.

Those who violate the rule must pay large fines, although reports of officials ordering forced abortions in rural and semirural areas are fairly common.

The case of Arzigul Tursun is raising attention because she’s 26 weeks pregnant and supporters say that an abortion could threaten her health. Her husband, who goes by the single name Nurmemet, said officials in their village near Yining learned of the pregnancy and warned the couple that their house and other property would be seized if Arzigul didn’t undergo an abortion.

He said the couple might have until Monday to appeal their case.

Arzigul is at the Municipal Watergate Hospital in Yining in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region , which is populated heavily with Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers), a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. Militant Uighurs seeking independence from China have carried out a terrorism campaign that’s intensified this year, and social tensions in the region are high.

U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith , a New Jersey Republican, wrote China’s ambassador to Washington , Zhou Wenzhong, on Thursday to demand that “the nightmare of a forced abortion” not be carried out.

“The Chinese government is notorious for this barbaric practice, but to forcibly abort a woman while the world watches in full knowledge of what is going on would make a mockery of its claim that the central government disapproves of the practice,” Smith said in a statement.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20081114/wl_mcclatchy/3100571_1

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